Ah-ah, I Workout

Wow, three months. That’s got to be a record of ignoring my blog (so that means, Puneet, I can literally never rag on you again). And chances are, the world has forgotten about my wry sense of humor and dry wit (yeah, the whole world. I’m pretty sure the whole world was reading my blog, which explains all the fame and fortune).

I don’t really have any solid excuses for it either. I mean, I got really busy doing four shows this year, but also I don’t have a day job, so using it to explain away why I haven’t done the dishes/laundry/chores/meal planning/writing/reading is actually super weak, and I realize that. But I also found that with a newfound lack of major depression coupled with no longer having a soul-sucking clerical job, my low points weren’t particularly plentiful. I mean, really, my life is pretty bomb. We bought a house, we have a really stupid destructive puppy (but she is so so cute that we just deal with it, plus we understand how anxiety works, and she just wants love you guys), Stella is still perfect, and a really fabulous sushi restaurant opened mere minutes from our neighborhood.

We ate food from there two nights in a row last week. We regret nothing.

BUT if we’re going to be real, there’s been this black cloud of low pointage really looming over my head, and I’ve now finally broken down to share my woes and cry with you all: The Gym.

Ugh.

To be fair, we didn’t actually join a gym (you know, the 24 Hour Gold Anytime Planet variety, with meatheads who grunt and check themselves out in all the mirrors and girls who actually cheer in Zumba); we joined a local rec center. Like, the nicest rec center of our lives.

Photo courtesy herrimantowncenter.com

Photo courtesy herrimantowncenter.com

I’m not even kidding, that’s where we work out. I wasn’t exaggerating about it being nice. It’s like Adobe except without the pdfs.

So it’s not the actual gym/rec center-ness that’s the problem. Clearly. It’s this fancy state-of-the-art building with fancy classes and fancy machines with individual TVs and iPod jacks that all work and fancy locker rooms that don’t smell like Axe body spray and like, the fanciest pool I’ve ever seen short of a water park. Also, these:

Image courtesy amazon.com

Image courtesy amazon.com

In every. single. bathroom.

So, yeah, spending time at this place can be fairly enjoyable for me. The problem, however, lies in the fact that I have to go there on a pretty regular basis (I was killing it and going every day till I got sick one day or maybe injured or perhaps I was just feeling lazy and then it all went to pot, so I go maybe three times a week instead). I mean, enjoyable or not, I have to be there, and I don’t like that too much.

Reasons Why

First off, I have to wear a bra, and the worst kind at that, because, you know. I shouldn’t have to spell it out for you.

Second, I have to wear pants or else they won’t let me in.

Also, the part about adulthood people don’t really tell you about when you’re young is how your metabolism rate dies a horrible, tragic death, and then you’re FORCED to eat healthfully and exercise regularly if you don’t want to become a character actor.

[I could get used to being a character actor, I’m sure of it.]

And have you ever lived in Utah during the wintertime? Unacceptably miserable. That 5:30 am TRX class sucked to begin with, but when paired with temperatures sitting in the teens, it’s downright life-ruining. I don’t want to leave the house to get in the car, and once I’m in the car, I don’t want to leave it to enter the gym, and once I’ve finished the class, I don’t want to go back outside either.

Yeah, you heard me, 5:30 am. I married a sadist, obviously.

I don’t want to say that the stomach bug I’ve been enduring the past week has been a blessing exactly … I mean, feeling gross 24/7 is clearly not the preferred option, and though I haven’t puked for a week now, I’m growing weary of regretting everything that passes through my lips (yesterday’s Red Robin, for example, which was still probably worth it). But it’s also gotten me out of going to the gym at ungodly hours for classes that make me feel sore, so … it might be a win.

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Snow: it Deserves its Own Post

A friend recently mentioned snow after I posted my 5 reasons why winter is worst. At first I was shocked I somehow failed to mention it, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized, I’d subconsciously done so on purpose. Because snow sucks so badly, I needed to feature it in its very own low point post.

Snow, you bastard.

I hear a lot of people in Utah getting all excited about snow. They’re sick, sick people. Also, they’re into winter sports, and if there’s one thing Husband and I really don’t participate in on any level, it is the winter sport. I love the outdoors … until it becomes late fall/winter, and then I avoid it as much as possible. Unfortunately, going outside is required of me to remain a functional member of the human society, but one of these years, I’ll probably throw in the towel, sign up for home delivered groceries, join Amazon Prime, set up an account on WebMD, and never leave the house again.

Photo courtesy of patient.co.uk

Photo courtesy of patient.co.uk

My distaste for snow began when I was a kid, which I realize is when most people really enjoy it, but when you live in the Pacific NW, any images you may have of fluffy, bright white snow are completely killed because what you get is a hard, almost icy snow, that rarely sticks to anything, and when it does, it turns muddy and slushy awfully fast. Our relationship (mine and snow’s, of course) was damaged even further when I was fourteen and nearly broke my spine on a church snow tubing trip on Mt. Hood.

I could regale you with that whole story, but it would take too long. Suffice it to say, it involved a knife, a wooden board, bad walkie talkie reception, and a trip home listening to 80s music, which at the time I despised (I’ve since gotten it together, don’t worry).

And yet despite all those things, when I was choosing a college to attend for four straight years, I didn’t even consider places like California, Arizona, or ANYWHERE OTHER THAN UTAH because Mormons. No, seriously, that’s why I came here. I needed other Mormon kids to play with. And I got them in spades. Thousands and thousands of them. It was actually kind of freaky and a real cultural experience for me, but here I am back in Utah, surviving, so perhaps that was like a pre-apocalyptic prep course. But I digress.

There’s something about a northern Utah winter that is different than winter in the rest of the state, something of which I was unaware (or perhaps I was extremely aware and decided to kid myself and deal anyhow because, again, Mormons). My freshman year wasn’t too bad, and for the most part, I’d say that was God blessing me with a mild(er) winter because I didn’t really have friends or good grades (okay, I’ll admit, I was on the Dean’s list first semester, but I did fail a few quizzes, which for a 3.9 GPA high school graduate was thoroughly traumatizing) or even an enjoyable first semester.

But then my sophomore year came.

Four feet of snow. Blizzards. Classes in session, regardless of all the things. It is really horrifying to walk to class in four feet of snow WHEN YOU ARE 5’1″. There was one afternoon where we jumped out of our kitchen windows about six feet up into the piles because there was no way we’d hurt ourselves. That was relatively fun-ish except for the cold, wet parts.

Fast forward to 2008, when my roommate and I were literally stuck in our apartment for three solid weeks, taking time off work without pay, and almost missing Christmas, because both our cars were snowed into the parking lot and there’s no road clean-up in the entire state of Oregon. We would walk to Costco for fun. One day, we even trekked a mile to Fred Meyer just to shake things up a bit, but of course we didn’t buy anything because we couldn’t afford it. That we didn’t kill each other in those three weeks is remarkable, not because we didn’t like each other (on the contrary, she remains one of my closest friends) but because three weeks in 950 sq. ft. with another human person is taxing.

We were just so excited to not be inside.

We were just so excited to not be inside.

And here’s the thing about snow. It is merely glorified rain. People can’t seem to complain enough about rain (especially non-Pacific Northwesterners, and I know, I know, this is the point when you remind me I’m a hydrophobe, but I’ve been taking medicine for that, and I’m pleased to report that I can tolerate it now without panic attacks), but then they get excited over snow? You realize when it melts, you’re going to have cold, nasty puddles … like when it rains … right?

People tell me I have to start doing winter sports (Ski Utah!), but I remain completely unconvinced. I mean, almost becoming a paraplegic from a snow tubing accident can kind of kill the magic for you, plus skiing takes coordination and leg strength, and snowboarding looks like skateboarding, which I attempted once and was then required to wear a helmet the rest of the afternoon. Just in case.

Snow also ensures that you’ll have to bundle up before stepping outside (seriously, when I was in college, my nose hairs froze. MY NOSE HAIRS. I didn’t even know that was a thing.) because it’s below freezing (I know, I’m a scientist), but you can certainly expect to be hot, sweaty, and really gross upon entering any location that is not also set at a balmy 34 degrees Farenheit. So snow can muck things up even when you’re inside, not even touching it.

So all you crazies who think snow and winter sports are great, go ahead and live in your delusions. Enjoy the chapped lips and potential frostbite and frozen nose hairs. I’ll be inside, cranking up the furnace, wearing several pairs of socks.

Why Winter is the Worst

Everyone says winter is awesome for several reasons, but I’m here to prove those reasons are actually ways that we’re all kidding ourselves. And that winter sucks.

1. Sweaters

Photo courtesy of wheretoget.it

Photo courtesy of wheretoget.it

Sure, they’re cute, but so are spring and summer blouses and tunics. Also, sweaters are made out of wool, and wool is inherently scratchy, and winter is dry, and when you have a scratchy fabric on dry, itchy skin, it’s the worst.

2. Holiday Parties

Image courtesy of stacey-yecats on polyvore.com

Image courtesy of stacey-yecats on polyvore.com

It’s a party in the wintertime, which we all know is the best time to load up on high-calorie foods and hunker down in large, oversized things, and avoid other people till the sun comes out. And then you’re supposed to wear tight fitting dresses and heels and traipse around eating crudites and listening to holiday music. The worst. I can eat and listen to music at home, kthxbai

3. Snuggling

Photo courtesy of things-we-heart.blogspot.com

Photo courtesy of things-we-heart.blogspot.com

Guys get hot and sweaty because they tend to be part polar bear. Your feet are freezing ice cold, theirs are not, the last thing they want is for you to be touching them with your icy extremities. No matter what, everyone in the snugglefest is unhappy and it doesn’t last long. So then you stay freezing ice cold and FAIL.

4. Winter skin products

Image courtesy of thebodyshop-usa.com

Image courtesy of thebodyshop-usa.com

There are actually entire products dedicated completely to wintertime because it’s so lame. And then they smell like cranberry or vanilla sugar cookies and for a minute you think, “Wow I’m sooooo glad it’s wintertime because everything smells THE BEST.” But then you remember you have to slather on the products like crazy all season long or else your eczema will flare up and you’ll look like a leper. Cranberry scents be damned — you know the only other time you have peely skin besides winter? Sunburns. Sunburns are the worst. Winter is the worst.

5. Holiday card photos

Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

Sure, they sound really quaint because you’re bundled up in sweaters and scarves and boots and you look super adorable until you realize it hasn’t snowed yet and it’s just freezing butt cold and ALL THE TREES ARE DEAD. So you get a family photo surrounded by death.

The worst.

The Wintry Day

Things happen when it’s colder than Alaska in a landlocked state. Lots of things. For starters, if you live in a place like Utah, where they focus more on making pre-dinner cocktails illegal rather than cleaning up the air, you get an inversion.

Wait, what’s that? I’ve never heard of such a thing.

Right? I had no clue what an inversion was till I moved to Utah. It wasn’t even sort of a real thing to me. Oregon has fresh, clean air, full of oxygen. And rainbows and fairies. But my sophomore year of college, I discovered the inversion and everything that meant.

Gross, dirty, nasty air. That’s what it means. Gross, dirty, nasty air that doesn’t go away for weeks at a time. They instituted red light days (I’m not making this up), in which elementary, middle, and high schools were actually canceled because HEAVEN FORBID children get lung cancer from walking outside. But if you’re a college student, the general advice is: Don’t breathe as you walk to campus.

And, I’m sorry to say, inversion happens in Utah County as well, which I had the misfortune of discovering a couple weeks ago.

This is a photo of a mountain.No. Seriously.

This is a photo of a mountain.
No. Seriously.

Inversion looks like fog except it makes you sick. So that’s fun.

Other things happen too, though. Like your limbs start to lock up and, as you’re walking up the 104 stair staircase to your office building, you start to get the distinct feeling that you are going to fall backwards to your frozen, bloody doom.

Then your nose hairs will freeze up. That feels gross, btw.

Finally, when you reach your warm, dry destination, your body will officially start to shut down. Your organs will fail to function. You will have a headache and a backache and a stomachache and your feet will hurt, despite your best efforts in wearing long pants, wool socks, and knee-high boots.

Knee high boots and boot socks

So far, I can confirm that my spleen, appendix, and duodenum are completely toast. My lungs are shutting down as I type (and cough). It’s been a good run, guys. I’ll miss you. I know you’ll miss me too.

The Excursion of 2012

– OR – “How Donner Pass Ruined Our Lives”

-OR – “How We Almost Became Cannibals”

This is how I feel about Donner Pass:

Upset Mary

The only reason I might look even a little happy is because I was clearly having a great hair day. But the overarching theme of this blog post is anger and frustration.

Because Donner Pass is a beast. A BEAST. I’m thinking of other words right now, but my mom reads this blog, and I don’t want her to be aware that I know those words. We decided, after the trip to San Francisco was over, that we probably should have flown and not bothered with a car, but most trips are made cheaper by driving, and we thought this would be the same. A word to the unwise: San Francisco is not made cheaper by driving. But we didn’t know that, and so we forged on ahead.

We’d been forewarned about Donner Pass, so we armed ourselves with chains and felt that was going to be good enough. We had water, we had food, and we had enough coats to not die of hypothermia in the event we got stranded on the side of the road, but we also had an intense hope that would not occur. And, while it was just raining and looking a lot like this,

Wet Donner Pass

men in large yellow outfits forced us off the road and told us to put on our chains — there was bad weather up ahead.

I hate these men. I hate them all.

I hate these men. I hate them all.

Well. This was clearly untrue. The roads weren’t bad, the chains weren’t necessary (ignore the above picture, which clearly shows bad roads and a necessity for chains), and they were bullying perfectly nice people into getting out of their cars and chain up. But we acquiesced, and when we parked the car, Husband turned to me and said, “Okay go ahead!” Because Husband travels in athletic shorts, even in the dead of winter, and heaven forbid he have to step outside in the frigid frigidity. I was in a jacket and a scarf. I clearly was the appropriate person to put chains on our Versa.

Low point number one, folks, would be Husband forcing me to put chains on our car instead of manning up. I still love him, most of the time.

As it turns out, our chains were for 14″ tires, which would have been really perfect if we were driving a car that had 14″ tires, but alas, the sporty exterior of my car meant 17″ tires. Because … sporty. So there we were, on the side of the road, in a patch of snow, surrounded by people whose chains did fit their car tires, Husband in his shorts and I in my jacket, wondering what in the hell we were going to do.

But then — luck! The men in yellow outfits disappeared, cars started zipping by, and we thought to ourselves, “If they can all drive without chains, well, then so can we!” This proved to be only partially true because we hit a point when a man in a kiosk stopped us, asking if our small, hatchback car was all-wheel drive, and Husband turned to me and then turned back to him and said yes. Fact: our car is not, nor will it ever be, all-wheel drive. It is not equipped with snow tires; we didn’t have chains that fit. But we were on a mission to get ourselves into the city of San Francisco because our hotel reservation, made through Hotwire, was non-refundable, and I was not paying for a hotel room I wasn’t going to spend a night in. 

Things started out fine, but then they turned less fine.

Donner Pass

At this point, I decided closing my eyes (I was the passenger, lest you’re worried about our well-being what with me driving with my eyes closed) was my best course of action. I did not need to see things get worse.

And, in fact, they did get worse. So bad that when I woke up, Husband was trailing behind a snow plow, his knuckles white, leaning over the steering wheel with a look of utter dismay on his face.

Snow Plows in Donner Pass

Don’t tell my mother this part of the story. It will make her worry.

We did get out. We survived Donner Pass without spending several months there, without eating each others’ flesh, without requiring search party after search party to come look for us. But we almost didn’t. And it required lies and deceit and 5 mph travel. It probably could have been worse.

Probably.

Preemptively, I’ve Decided

The last time I had to wear glasses (so as to, you know, legally drive and not kill people or maim myself and see colors and shapes) during inclement weather was circa 2000. It took years for me to shed the trauma that was rain-drenched glasses and the impending steam upon entering a room.

Photo courtesy of emergingrunner.com

Photo courtesy of emergingrunner.com

But a little while back, I called the Eye Institute of Utah and made an appointment to see some eye surgeon who would look at my eyeballs and determine whether or not I was a good candidate to be shot in the face with lasers. I suppose the final straw was losing my glasses temporarily (and that one contact lens, which I swear to you, I still haven’t come across and we don’t vacuum that often.)

It’s not like I actually want eye surgery. I don’t want anyone clamping down my eyelids for any reason (I’m pretty sure I saw that in an episode of “Criminal Minds” once, and it scarred me for life.) I don’t want lasers being shot into my retinas. But I also don’t want the body of a 90-year-old or facial hair, and life has proven to me that I’m not going to always get my way. You’re welcome about that facial hair thing.

Anyhow, back to glasses in the rain.

When I made said appointment, a very nice lady told me I’d have to go sans contact lenses for a week prior. Because apparently contact lenses leave residue on your eyes (another tidbit of information I could have gone the rest of my life without), and the highly skilled doctors of the world apparently don’t have vivid enough imaginations to, you know, PRETEND LIKE THE RESIDUE ISN’T THERE. So, beginning last Thursday night, I took out a perfectly good set of contact lenses, placed them into some Opti-Clean, and prepared myself for what was to come.

Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com

Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com

Glasses suck. The only people who have successfully deluded themselves into thinking glasses are awesome are hipsters who either wear glasses without any lenses in them or glasses with lightweight plastic lenses. For those of us who wear actual, real-life glasses, the novelty is completely gone.

Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com
He also listens to the Black Eyed Peas ironically.

Case in point

My vision is so bad that I can’t really stand farther than one inch from my bathroom mirror to apply my makeup.

The handle of my foundation brush is about seven inches long.

You can see my dilemma.

Another case in point

My most recent short haircut isn’t glasses friendly at all, but of course I didn’t realize that when I got it. The only solution I’ve come up with, to avoid the inevitable “fa-winnnng” of my sideburns (you know exactly what I’m talking about and don’t try to deny it) is to aerosol hairspray my glasses into my hair.

That’s a real thing. I’m actually doing that every day.

Look how happy I am that my ears are coated in spray can glue.

Look how happy I am that my ears are coated in spray can glue.

So, I’ve preemptively made the executive decision, regardless of whether my eyes are actually good candidates, that the Eye Institute of Utah may bore holes into my brain with their lasers. They can clamp my eyelids back and make me temporarily blind and ruin my morning come January or February or March or April or whenever it is that I get the gumption to actually go through with this Godforsaken procedure all so I don’t have to wear glasses ever again for the rest of eternity.

Brought to You by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

We have this great story from when I was about three years old, camping with my parents at the beach, just jibber-jabbering away like most three year olds, when I suddenly ended my nonsensical story with “brought to you by the corporation for public broadcasting!”

You see, we watched a lot of “Sesame Street” and “Muppet Babies” in our house.

Anyhow, that was just a little nostalgia for you. It has actually nothing to do with this blog post, but you might as well come to realize that I was, and still am, super cute.

Today’s low point is really brought to you by one of the saddest fellows in all of Utah county:

Seriously. So sad.

I’m personally very upset that it snowed at all today. I realize snow is one of those things you expect in Utah, right along with conservatism and minivans, but I live in deep, deep denial. When I read this winter was supposed to be one of the warmest, I thought that meant no snow.

False. I was wrong. At the very least I’d hoped for the snow to hold off till November, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in 2 1/2 years of life in Utah, it’s disappointment.

Just a lot of disappointment.