Water, water, everywhere

Folks.

Tonight I am concerned.

Mainly, my concern is such, that at the still relatively young age of thirty, I have become obsessed with how I spend my time in the shower.

And it’s not just that.

I’ve become obsessed with writing about it, and having other people read about these exploits.

This is strange.

I mean, it was only a few weeks ago that I was chronicling my new found love of baths, and now here I am, about to regale you with my new fangled method of showering.

Please bare with me.

(No pun intended.)

This past September I began going to the gym before work. I was having terrible problems with my Achilles and calf muscle in my left leg, and I was sure that running every morning was exacerbating the problem.

Turns out I was only partially right. The majority of my problems were coming from the fact that my anxiety issues were ramped up to eleven, and my body reacts terribly to stress. Anytime my life is shrouded by worry and unease, my system rebels and the first things to go are either my right knee or my left calf.

WHO KNEW?

Anyway, despite the fact that I had previously railed so valiantly against the gym, I gave in and bought a membership to the new Dynamic Fitness at the New Westminster Skytrain station.

I figured that I would go most mornings around 6:30am, work it like a madwoman for thirty minutes, and then shower and head to work.

And I was right! This plan has definitely worked a treat.

Most mornings I arrive between 6:30-6:45am, sprint on the treadmill for ten to fifteen minutes, move through a resistance circuit (mostly push-ups, squats, lunges, ab work, and pull-ups) and then bike as hard as I can for ten minutes to finish-up.

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Gym bagging it on my way to work.

On the weekends I do my long distance runs around the Lower Mainland, and once the afternoons begin to stay lighter for longer, I plan on again running after work.

(My dream is to start a regimen of two-a-days, where I work out in the morning and then run after work. I going to have to really channel my inner Sarah Connor to ever make that a reality.)

Anyways, back to mornings at the gym.

The thing that people fail to tell you about showering and changing at these spaces, is, when you’re operating on a similar schedule to mine, and giving yourself zero time to cool down post-bike, the very last thing you’ll ever want to do is step into a hot shower.

Because it will at best be uncomfortable, and at worst, leave you feeling as though you’re going to die in the excruciating depths of a fiery inferno.

And that really sucks.

So, what is an enterprising girl left to do?

The answer is, as I’ve now discovered, to take blindingly cold showers.

And this is awesome.

So much so that I have pretty much become addicted to them, and cannot even imagine taking a hot shower ever again (workout or no.)

There is something equal parts magical and terror-inducing stepping into the stall, anticipating that first hit of water, just knowing what is coming the second you place your head under the stream.

It’s like all of the air is simultaneously driven from your body and you’re left a sputtering and gasping mess, just trying to force breath in and out of your lungs.

For a person who spent a lot of time growing up imagining whether or not she would have survived the Russian Gulag, these showers give me some kind of weird assurance that maybe, just maybe, I could have hacked it in the Taiga. (Seriously though, this was a huge source of worry to me as both an adolescent and early adult. I mean, for one, I wear glasses. That surely would have signed my death warrant, would it have not? Second, I have never taken the time to properly memorize long poems penned by Pushkin and Gogel and every political prisoner memoire I ever read always detailed at length how important these works were to prisoner survival. How could I ever have made it through long periods of isolation? Obviously I would be hooped.)

Erm.

What was I talking about?

Oh yes.

Beginning my day with both a high-intensity workout and then a blisteringly cold shower has completely changed my outlook on mornings.

For the most part I have more energy, I eat better breakfasts, and I am more alert (especially when it comes to first-thing meetings.)

And I’m not just making this stuff up!

Cold showers are great for circulation, muscle and injury recovery, they (supposedly) aid in weight loss, and they definitely ease stress.

Plus, they make you feel like an epic badass!

This past Saturday I ran 30 kilometers, and despite this insane feat that did a crazy number on my body, I felt great enough to run both yesterday and today.

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Post 30km. FEELING IT.

And while I’m sure that my cold showers aren’t the sole reason behind my quick heal, I do have to give them some credit.

Because if I don’t, I know I’ll just keep writing about them.

And I don’t want this to be the material that you are forced to fall back on when you are shipped off to Baffin Island for forty years of hard labour.

You deserve a Pushkin poem for that.

And one that isn’t about baths.

Mine or otherwise.

My Christmas List

1. Memory

In grade eleven four of my best friends and I did a lip sync to the opening credits of Sailor Moon.

It was pretty epic. I even did my hair in Sailor Moon’s weird ball-pigtail things.

During the musical interlude, five of our guy friends came out on stage dressed as aliens and monsters, and we kicked their butts (in classic Sailor Scout style, of course.)

This, weirdly, is one of the performing highlights of my life.

2. Weather

This happened:

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I was going to go for a long run yesterday, but with all of this white stuff on the ground, and my Yak Tracks nowhere to be found, I swallowed my pride and schlepped myself to the little gym located just down the street from my house.

(Schlepped really being the operative word here, what with the high degree of slippery-ness I was contending with on our absolutely treacherous sidewalks. Say what you want about us west coasters, but the majority of us really can’t do winter for crap.)

Anywho, I was feeling pretty dejected about this decision, what with how vehemently I claimed I was never, EVER going to return to a gym (especially that gym), but as I really wanted to move my body I girded my loins and went.

Oh dear me.

I really do loathe gyms.

For starters, a drop-in pass cost me ten dollars.

TEN DOLLARS!

What the what.

Second, nothing is sillier to me than running on a treadmill. Anytime I do this, I always think, “Man. What are the aliens thinking as they watch us do this crazy stuff?”

But mostly I just really can’t stand the clientele that frequent these establishments because everything they do just completely grinds my gears.

The thing that I hate the most? When dudes feel the need to one-up me after I’ve performed an exercise.

For instance, many times after I’ve used the chin-up bar (and am totally proud at the 5-8 chin-ups I’ve managed to crank out), some schmuck feels some strange compulsion to prove just how much stronger he is that I, and will ask if he can “work-in” (despite the fact that he hasn’t finished his reps on whatever other machine he has been using) and then do as many chin-ups as he can physically handle.

All of the barfs.

But in the end, the gym did serve its purpose and I felt all the better for having a chance to work out on such a wintery, snow-filled day.

3. Music

It is kind of a dream of mine to be an extra is a Bollywood music video.

No joke.

I really, really love Hindi music.

This is one of my faves, from a movie I really, really loved. (Song starts around 1:30)

Sometimes when I am baking or cooking, I stick on a 4-hour long playlist and just dance about the house.

Plus – the outfits.

THE OUTFITS!

4. Washing

I haven’t taken a bath in about fifteen years.

I’m just not really into them, you know?

I remember taking baths just when I was learning how to shave my legs, and I would shave my legs whilst SITTING in the tub.

GAH. I did so many crazy things as teenager, I sometimes don’t know how I made it through that decade of my life in one piece.

Anyways, I’m not exactly sure if there is one determining factor behind my decision to never take another bath ever again in my entire life (unofficial decision of course – it has never been formally decried), but I think it’s mostly just because I love showering SO MUCH and really, who has the time for baths? Let alone the fact that there is about a five minute window where a bath is amazing, and then you have to contend with the ever-cooling water, rogue body oils, and the realization that this is neither as relaxing or romantic as you were originally led to believe.

Plus, I always hated trying to read a book in the bath because my hands would always get really cold, and then I’d put them in the water to warm them up and then my book would get all wet from my wet hands.

GRIM TIMES HERE FOLKS.

5. Christmas

As I get older I cannot help but think that the majority of Christmas songs are just absolute garbage.

(Please note that I wrote songs, and not carols – most carols are epic and badass, and I sing them all at the top of my lungs every time I am in the shower, in celebration of the fact that I am showering and not taking a bath.)

But seriously – so many of these tunes that we are inundated with ad nauseam at this time of year are just ridiculously awful in the extreme.

For instance, topping my most hated list?

DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS.

Urg.

Oh I think they bloody-well do! Because I think it’s Africa and you know, not THE MOON.

Damn you Bono! What a bunch of condescending, tone-deaf, privileged jerks.

Seriously, this song is pretty much the musical equivalent of “but it’s okay – I have a black friend!”

It’s just the worst.

AND IT’S NOT OKAY.

6. Excitment

FOUR MORE DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS!

Marc and I are finally going to today to procure a little tree for our house, and we’ll be decking the halls with care.

Yay!

What are all you fab chaps up to tonight?

Do let me know. I’d love to hear as I dance the night away.

Open up and bare it all

Hi Chickadees!

There are so, SO many things of which I have to write, but while I get my thoughts (and pictures, and videos) in order, and oil up my oh-so rusty typing fingers, I am going to answer the ten funniest questions OF LIFE posed to me by the amazingly hilarious Great Unwashed.

Please go check out her blog. You will not regret this decision.

And now! My answers:

 1. If you had to choose between Anna Karenina, War and Peace and Steve Martin’s acclaimed novella “Shopgirl” which book would be the best weapon in a bar fight?

First off, GREAT QUESTION.

My initial reaction was all, “UMMMM ANNA KARENINA YO.”

NEXT!

In terms of sheer weight (both literally, and literature-aly), The Jerk doesn’t have a thing on old Leo T. In fact, I am surprised he is even included here in the list. I would have expected something like – Anna Karenina, The Brothers Karamazov, and Les Miserables.

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RIGHT?

I only initially chose the adorable adventures of Kitty and Levin (and the insufferable angst of Anna and Vronsky) because it was first in the list. War and Peace would also pack one hell of a punch.

But I digress.

My decision in the end actually IS Shopgirl (and not just because I love the word “novella”), but because anyone who thought to start a bar fight with me, and then happened to espy that I was reading such dreck would probably realize that going rope-a-dope with me just wouldn’t be worth it.

My life would be much too sad already.

Side note: my husband really hates Steve Martin.

Like, a lot.

I don’t really care either way, but I do dig the fact that he plays the banjo.

2. What is the longest period you’ve ever gone without bathing? Please note, stays in Turkish prisons do not count.

DULY NOTED.

Okay, first things first –

I LOVE TAKING SHOWERS.

They are firmly ensconced in my Top Five Things to Do By Myself.

Plus I just generally hate feeling dirty. Nothing feels as good as a great scrubbing.

The longest I have ever gone without showering was two weeks in grade ten when I was a camp counsellor in training.

I took part in a teenage Outward Bound-type excursion, and being that we spent the entire time in the wild woods, we also went the entire time sans-showers.

I tell you, even though we had the opportunity to swim almost every day, I was practically dreaming about soap and shampoo by the end of the trip.

3. You’ve decided to take on three additional husbands and or wives, who are they? Both living and dead people may be included, although admittedly an attraction to the deceased is a little beyond me.

SUCH A HARD QUESTION.

But such a good question.

Okayokayokay.

For the purely physical: James Spader circa 1986.

Or Rafa Nadal circa all of his Armani ads.

SO HOT I JUST CAN’T EVEN.

For the purely intellectual: David Mitchell.

SO FUNNY AND SMART I JUST CAN’T EVEN.

For the whole package: Stephen Colbert.

*brain explosion*

4. What is your most unfortunate public transportation story?

I have drooled quite a bit on the metro in my day.

Also, once, while riding the last skytrain back home I watched a guy barf all over the floor.

That wasn’t very nice.

5. Go back in time, you’re attempting to sell your five year old sibling, what is your asking price?

ONE MILLION CHOCOLATE BARS.

6. In a bid to secure the Guinness World Record for “Longest and Highest Transport of Tom Cruise” you’ve decided to piggyback this superstar across the Andes. What phrase do you repeat to yourself during the tough parts of the trek to spur yourself onwards when Tom’s pointy hip bones are digging into your spine?

The following classic line from Top Gun:

“I WANT SOME BUTTS!”

(See below video.)

No joke, I use this line almost daily.

7. What do you consider to be a valid reason for a hunger strike?

I wrote a super long answer about torture and imprisonment without cause that was super, super grim (surprise, surprise!) so for the sake of brevity I’ll just say that weird pink chicken mcnugget sludge.

The thought of that stuff pretty much turns me off food for life.

8. Name three items you hide from your spouse or significant other or even better, yourself.

I don’t actually hide much, if anything at all, from Marc.

As many of you who read this blog might have guessed, I’m a pretty transparent person.

However, for years I denied that it was me who put the dent into our old VW Golf. I also only watch Drop Dead Diva when he’s either asleep or out of the house. One time I farted on the subway and convinced him that he was in fact the one who farted.

9. Where are the hiding places for these items? Wait! Don’t tell me, I’m a terrible secret keeper.

MY CONSCIENCE.

10. How do you feel about my interviewing skills? Will they make Oprah love me?

If the big O doesn’t love you, please take some level of comfort in the fact that I most definitely do.

So there you have it!

What about you dudes? What are some of your answers to the fab-tastic queries?

Please do share.

Because let’s be honest here, they are just too good not to.

One tough cookie

Hey friends!

It’s Friday, it’s June, and it’s raining and winding like a raining and winding thing.

Tough Mudder is tomorrow, so as I may never see (write to?) you beauty cats ever again (due to my imminent death by hypothermia), so let me just say that it has been an absolute pleasure conversing with all of you.

For the (mayhaps final) Fry-Up, there are three things heating up docket, so let’s dive right in.

Number one:

Pretty pretties from the internets.

I’ve always been super weary of purchasing goods from the world wide interweb, however when I saw this dress there was little I could do to stop myself from taking out my credit card and buying it on the spot.

It was thirty-five dollars – which included shipping – a price so low I half expected the garment to dissolve into dust as soon as I opened the packaging.

However, as it is a non-structured dress (a slip, with a sheer overlay) that came with its ridiculously cute pink belt, I figured if I know my size pretty well, there was little chance that the fit was going to be completely off.

(I mean, for thirty-five clams there was no way I was going to go through the effort of returning the thing. If by bad luck it hadn’t fit, I would have bloody well made it fit.)

And it ended up being brilliant! On the whole, I am just so enamoured with its retro style that I half expect an American GI to walk up to me as I walk down the street and ask me if I would like to jitterbug with him as soon as the band returns from its break.

It’s also comfortable as all get out, both work and play appropriate, and as flattering as a grade school crush.

Now I just need to figure out how to curl my hair properly and heck – no one will be able to stop me!

Onwards!

Number two:

Fab books and belly laughs.

I am currently reading this book:

It is hilarious.

Today on skytrain I was busting a gut so hard the fellow sitting next to me leaned over and asked me what I was reading.

“A hilarious Canadian book about the absurdity of academia and our electoral and parliamentary systems!” I responded. “It won the Stephen Leacock medal!”

I don’t know whether to describe the look that flickered across his face as incredulous or withering, so let’s go with both.

If I had known that he would have greeted my description with such non-plussed scorn (hey, it’s a thing!) I probably would have said something different.

I should have just hollered, “MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS YOU ULTRA MAROON!” and then farted loudly.

(P.S. This is how you get a seat to yourself on transit at all hours of the day.)

Anywho, the book is blinkin funny as heck, so if you have a chance, ch-ch-check it out. This goes double for all my Canuck readers out there.

You won’t regret it, I promise you.

P.S. for my international readership, the Stephen Leacock award is for Canadian humour writing. People who win it often have genetically modified funny bones. I am currently in the process of saving up for an F.B. enlargement so I too may one day compete in this illustrious field.

Number three:

SHOWERS.

I am one of those people who LOVE to shower.

I love being clean.

I love the process of becoming clean.

Everything about the venture that is involved with standing inside an enclosed bathing vestibule – I BLOODY WELL LOVE.

And tomorrow, during Tough Mudder, I am going to get very, very dirty.

The dirtiest.

Perhaps (and by perhaps I mean it is certain) that I will reach levels of filth I cannot even begin to imagine, sitting here at my computer.

And while I don’t fear that mess, I very much look forward to that moment where upon completion of my race, I will step into a shower, feel that cascade of hot water on my skin, and scrub the absolute shit out of my dermis.

Take that as you will.

So there you have it dudes.

On one last T.M. note, I am so excited to start off tomorrow I can hardly sit still.

I have trained like a madwoman and now it is time to see what I can do. I promise to take lots of photos and let you know how both Mr. M and I fared throughout the sixteen kilometers and twenty-five obstacles.

We’ll be seeing you at the finish line.