Archive for January, 2010


Girl vs. Gym

January 19, 2010

The first thing I do upon entering a gym is locate a woman that is fatter than me.  If I manage to spot a sufficiently plump gal, I sigh in relief and go about my self-torturous business. My reasoning is this:  All the women in the joint who are thinking “My God, if I ever get that big, freakin’ shoot me.” are probably looking at that other fat chick’s ass instead of mine. Yes, that is just how whacked in the head I am about weight. If I don’t see another plus-sizer in the house, I am skittish the entire time I am in public view. I am convinced that every skinny bitch on the floor is looking at me and thinking “Jesus, lay off the pie honey.” Trust me; I know its weird.

So, I haven’t been to a gym in two years. The whole cancer thing put the kabosh on working out, but also served as a convenient excuse to lay on the couch and eat cheese. Now that chemo is a permanent part of my life, I can no longer justify scrambling eggs as exercise. Therefore, I joined a gym here in Texas. When I walked in for the first time, I was filled with self-loathing. But slowly, things started to suck less. Not only are all members of this sweat lodge super fit, they are also incredibly nice. The check in gal who swiped my card smiled at me without a hint of pity. The trainer dudes were helpful and not the least bit pushy. And the Barbie dolls were totally polite in the locker room. Not an aerobaskank to be found. Damn. Now I have to actually do something while I’m here.

With the best attitude I could muster, I hopped on a treadmill. I walked. I checked my heart rate. I walked some more. I watched closed captioned versions of Oprah.  More walking. A glance at the clock shows I’ve been dutifully working out for …. seven minutes. CRAP! This is why I hate this! For the next 23 minutes I employed as many mental diversions as I could recall. Complex math problems. Grapes in Chateauneuf du Pape.  Cleveland Show lyrics. Finally a half hour had passed.  I was sweaty and relieved to dismount the cursed machine.

Now, here’s the part that threw me. I actually felt…better. Taller and less knotted up in the shoulders. And NO ONE has given me the fatty stink eye. Not once! Maybe part of why Austinites all seem so damn happy is that they’re all super fit? Wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants! Perhaps there is something to this whole fitness thing. Maybe I’ll think twice about that pie.


Settling In: Taco Trailers and Texans

January 18, 2010

I’ve been in the nation of Texas for just a couple of weeks, but overall I’m enjoying the warmth of both the weather and the people. Austin is an odd little pocket of ex-hippies and UT students who espouse the slogan “Keep Austin Weird”. People bike to work, recycle and carry concealed weapons. I’ve noticed an unusually high number of neck tattoos and an unusually low number of over-sized belt buckles. Yesterday, I passed a guy on his bicycle wearing nothing but a g string. Not even a helmet.  I thought, “this must be my first Austin Weird experience.” I also thought, “that guy can’t be comfortable in the saddle.”

Other observations of note:

Guy in his late sixties, walking down the sidewalk carrying a full sized boom box playing hard core rap.

You can buy beer and wine on Sundays, but not hard liquor. Guess Jesus doesn’t approve of shots.

This town has more bike lanes than sidewalks. Must be that Lance guy.

Local grocery store displays Velveeta in the produce aisle next to broccoli.

You can get almost any kind of food from an airstream trailer. Tacos, pizza, crepes, cupcakes. Genius.

Lady Bird Johnson was a big deal.

Dry cleaners are downright difficult to locate.

Grocery store clerks like to chit chat about anything and everything during your transaction. Same with barristas,  ice cream scoopers, pharmacists and of course, bartenders. My husband finds this unnerving.

Best. Grocery Stores. Ever. Original Central Market and Whole Foods offer incredibly high quality foods from every cuisine. Both have embedded restaurants that serve booze. Errands are much more fun when you can reward yourself with some hooch.

Everyone knows someone in a band.

The only people that ride the very nice public busses are poor minorities, the dentally challenged, and me.

Again, these are just observations in broad strokes. Overall, its interesting that everyone seems to simply love living here. People seem generally content and relaxed. I really want to give in to this mellow happy miasma, but I can’t help but suspect its all part of an evil plot involving mind control and robots. Can people really adore where they live to this degree? I’ll keep digging and report back.