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Friday, December 30, 2011

Maybe Running Isn't Terrible and Deadly All Over.

Me before yesterday: “Man, screw running. Running is stupid. I am an ADULT. There is no reason for me to be running anywhere. If someone were chasing me, I’d turn around and be like ‘WTF, dude? Why are you chasing me? I’m broke. What is happening here?’ And that would be the end of it. I’d have run maybe 3 steps before I was winded and turned to confront him. ‘Cause, you know, I don’t back down from a confrontation!”

So, a few years ago, I decided I wanted to get into better shape. My family has a history of heart disease and diabetes and yada, yada. I know all you hear is a girl whining “I’m so faaaaat, I need to be skinny! Look at my BUTT! Wahhh.” In this case, ehhh…I AM a girl, and I’m a bit overweight, but that’s where the similarity ends. I’m happy with myself. I also want to be healthy and live for a long time. And in order to help do that, I recently quit my decade-long, enjoyable smoking habit, I switched to liquor from beer, and I’m trying to vary my work outs. My mother works out. If my almost 62-year-old mom in Florida can decide to get healthy, so can I!

So, when I started working out a few years back, just using the elliptical machine and occasionally swimming laps. Today, I still do the exact same exercise routine, and I have definitely plateau’ed on my hilly path to health. I go to the Y 4-5 times a week, and I have genuinely come to enjoy going to the gym. It’s the craziest thing, I used to make fun of people who liked working out, I thought it was ridiculous! It’s not. I do it after work every day, and it makes me feel good, gives me energy, and when I don’t go to the gym, Boyfriend can attest to the fact that I have too much excess energy and am bouncing off the walls.

I have trouble sticking to diets. It turns out that I have little to no self control, and somehow just got lucky that quitting smoking was easier than I thought it would be. I love bagels, and cookies and skittles, and dammit, macaroni and cheese and I are the very best of friends (sorry you had to find out this way, Emily!).

Anyway, back to the running thing. I’ve always hated it. The few times I have attempted jogging, when there were no gyms around (like on vacations), I have cursed it with every fiber of my being. “Running is terrible,” I said. “Running is terrible and painful and deadly all over. Nike should make that their new slogan,” said I. I happen to think that was hilarious. And if you don’t laugh at that, well…I accept your constitutional right to suck.

I like walking. Hell, I live in NYC, I haven’t much choice. My friend told me about this jogging program called “Couch to 5k.” It has an app, so I downloaded it to my phone, and it tells you exactly what to do and when to do it. It has a stopwatch and pulls up your music for you, too. It tells me “alls youse gotta do is run for one minute. ONE stinkin’ minute, then walk for a minute and a half. Alternate for 20 minutes, and you’re done.” (I don’t know why I decided to write that with an accent…) It sounded easy, so I figured, why not?

I put on my spandex pants (I am hella sexy at the gym), strap on a sports bra and my Seniors ’04 t shirt, and an ankle brace (whooole different story) and off I go to a treadmill.

If you’ve never run on a treadmill, let me just explain to you that a teeny tiny little bitty person in sneakers running on it sounds like they are Godzilla clomping through downtown. I sound like a herd of elephants. Luckily, my music was loud enough to cover the stomping sounds, or I would’ve been done in about 17 seconds.

And you know what? It wasn’t that bad. I found my pace, stared at the stopwatch for the one minute, and then stroll along all dandy for a bit. It really wasn’t that bad. Maybe running isn’t the sport of the devil. Or maybe it is. Maybe the devil just wanted to get into shape a little bit. Jeez! Leave the poor guy alone!
See? He's just running with a friend!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Yay! Sentimental Claptrap For the Holidays!

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanzaa, Have a Fun Winter Solstice, and Happy Festivus!

Ahhh, the holidays. I love them so. I’m a happy little Jew girl who loves Christmas carols and cookies. And presents. And let’s face it. ‘Tis the season of cookies, singing, and gifts.
So, I didn’t have a Christmas tree growing up. Because of that, I was slightly fascinated by them. By the time I got to college, my fascination and want of a tree (a “Hanukkah bush” wasn’t deemed acceptable at home, though I think we ALL would have enjoyed that) had faded. I thought they were pretty, but I never gave them much thought.
Until one day, my roommates and I decided to decorate for the holidays! We got a big ol’ tree, and ornaments and tinsel. OH THE TINSEL! There was so much of it! We made stockings, we decorated everything, and I got to put the star on top! It was a very fun bonding experience, and I still think back on that and laugh at the huge mess of tinsel we had for WEEKS afterward.

And now, as I’m older, I still think trees are pretty, but I’ve come to appreciate the Hanukkah traditions more, too. Especially since moving out on my own. When I was a kid, each of us the family had our own Menorah, and we’d light the candles together in the kitchen and all sing the prayers. It was like a small bonfire! But it was a moment of togetherness, followed immediately by the opening of the presents.

There are 8 nights of Hanukkah, and YES, we had something to open every night. We usually got one big thing each that we’d asked for, and then a bunch of smaller stuff. We always had gelt (gold-wrapped chocolate shaped like coins), we always had traditional latkes, which are a huge pain in the ass to make, but are delicious, and I will go TO MY GRAVE swearing that no one makes them like my mom.
We even played dreidel, using pennies or M&Ms as the money. I never believed in Santa, and neither did my brothers. We were taught not to blab that around school, though. I wouldn't want to ruin anyone's beliefs, but even as a small child, we just didn't have that.
Living on my own has taught me that I am too lazy to do the traditional stuff just for me. I still love buying gifts for my family and friends, and they all know that I can’t help but give it to them early, or blab about what it is, because I get overexcited about giving it to them. But, ehh…I don’t decorate or anything by myself. And I miss it.
So, tomorrow is Christmas eve, and I’ll be celebrating with Boyfriend’s family, followed by going to DC to celebrate the rest of Hanukkah with my family. And yes, we’ll each light our Menorahs, and sing the prayers together, and eat gelt, and teach the kids dreidel. Can’t wait!
…and remember, no matter what you believe, no matter how old you are, an empty wrapping paper tube will always be a lightsaber!

Go Gators! My menorah bleeds orange and blue!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I Am Not Dick's Best Friend.

If your name is Dick, I probably won’t be your friend. Not because I don’t like you, you’re likely delightful. You just won’t like me. I’ll giggle like a schoolgirl whenever I say your name. And here’s why: first of all, how the hell do people make the jump from “Richard” to “Dick”?? And secondly, as you probably got teased in school, why didn’t you nip that nickname in the bud when you were a kid? I’ll never understand why you didn’t say, “Hey, man, don’t call me that. Let’s go with “Rich” or something. Also,  I have the maturity of a 10 year old boy, so it makes me laugh. To be fair, I would laugh equally as hard if your nickname was “Fart” or “Your Mom,” too.

Sometimes you have no choice, like if it is your last name, or if your parents were too lazy or short sighted to name you something non-stupid. Here is an example: I knew a William Williamson and a Danielle Daniels when I was in school.

This is 100% real: my mom’s friend (both my mom and her friend are teachers) worked at a school and in one grade, had 11 different girl students named Female. Pronounced “Feh-mall-ee.” In high school, my best friend’s mom was a doctor, and she had 2 patients that were identical twins that were actually named Lemonjello and Orangejello. YYYYeah.

But, I love these names SO MUCH. How could you not? They’re hilariously, painfully awful. I just feel bad for those kids. They didn’t pick the names, they are just stuck with them until age 18.

There is the other side of the coin. Perfectly normal names that your classmates and friends twist into cruel, horrifically funny nicknames and pronunciations. Been there, heard that. There is absolutely nothing that anyone could do to my name that high school kids and restaurant coworkers haven’t already done in a perverted, sometimes funny, way.

And no, I am NOT telling.

But back to you. Is your name Dick? Jello? Pilot Inspecktor?

I fully understand wanting to name your kid something new and interesting, and one that isn’t the most popular name for last 15 years. But Pilot Inspektor? That’s just mean! AND you spelled it wrong!

I generally like interesting names. Heck, my name is “Jyssica.” And I LOVE IT. It is just different enough to be interesting, without going into the realm of crazy. Someday, I’ll have a kid and I'll probably name it. And it will be in school surrounded by a bunch of “Denim,” “Apple,” and “FlingIronLoveMonkey” kids. Well, that last one isn’t so bad.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I was dreaming that I was a standup comedian, and then woke up funny.

[Little bit o' backstory: I really was having this dream that I was a stand up comic. I watch a LOT of stand up, in case you were wondering. Which you should have been. What kind of weirdo just randomly dreams of being a comedian? A funny chick, that's who! ANYWAY, I woke up and had the following rant stuck in my head. I wrote it down, refined it a bit, took out a couple of nonsequitors, and here we have it.
In my head, the whole rant is a riff on these specific blame-happy weirdos people:
Those who claim that video games teach violence, blur the lines between fantasy and reality, and desensitize their kids to violence in real life. If you think it’s the games fault for you not teaching your kids that violence isn’t always the answer, and the difference between fantasy and reality, then you must be SUPER PISSED at board games, too.]
READ THIS IN THE STYLE OF DANIEL TOSH WHISPERING IT TO YOU (in a slightly creepy manner). May be odd, but that's how I imagined it:

What is Monopoly teaching kids? That it is OK to walk through something once, buy it with no inspection, no negotiation, and then start building shit. No permits, screw structural integrity, and who needs a contractor or 7?

First off, your kids should be thinking about the environment, not just slapping hotels and houses wherever they want. Secondly, your kids think they are so damn entitled! Just buying shit up, probably using credit, screw up their--haha, YOUR--credit score, living in your house for another 4 years while they build it. When are they moving out already? Kid, your parents want you gone, and the Pizza Palace can replace you at any moment. Congrats, Monopoly. You taught my kids to be ungrateful, entitled slumlords who still live in my basement!

Yeah. Monopoly messed up your kids. Can't blame yourself, because it couldn't possibly be the parenting skills you learned off a Fruity Pebbles box. Stop blaming the media, the video games, and the teachers, and put the blame squarely where it belongs. On YOUR parents, duh. Those jerks. Why couldn't they have taught you more before they died in that tragic drunk driving accident? I told Ma to lay off the Bay Breezes, but you know women. They never listen.
AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON CLUE! What? WHAT! Like it’s ok to just stumble stupidly around a strangers house looking for clues to a murder. GET OUT NOW! Don’t you know your mother worries about you when you aren’t home?
And that damn Chutes & Ladders. I climb all damn day, struggle, going up one rung at a time, barefoot, and when I FINALLY get near the top, I'm suddenly pushed down a flippin’ slide? Like I’m 3 years old and need a slide? Why even bother trying to get to the top, huh? HUH?!
Also, was there a “16 and pregnant” game that I don’t know about? Because I gotta say…I think that one might be one that should be pulled off the shelves…