Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"What? I'm not giving you the stinkeye. I'm trying to give you the pinkeye."

I would like to preface the message in this post by saying that I should really be finalizing the edits to my company's business plan right now. However, even though it's sitting on the couch right beside me, I was inspired to write today. I feel that's what true writers do. They get inspired, a stirring in the soul, and they can't rest until their message gets out. So, here I am...with nothing of much importance to tell you. It won't save your life in a time of crisis, but it might save me from going crazy if I can get it out for you to read.

Also, I was supposed to call one of my best friends today to chat. Friend, if you are reading this, I apologize. We will chat tomorrow...and that is why you are one of the best: you understand my absurd need to communicate my crazy little inspirations. Thanks!

In a movie entitled "Juno", one of the scenes shows a display of jealousy between two high school girls pining after the same guy. "Tell your lil' girlfriend to stop giving me the stinkeye," the girl Juno says. "She wasn't giving you the stinkeye...that's just the way she looks," replied the guy. This particular part in the movie is one of my favorites because "stinkeye girl" turns around and she looks just like I remembered looking nearly five years ago when I suffered from a terrible case of pinkeye.

Ahhh...pinkeye. Have you ever had it? If not, you should never experience it. Pinkeye is one of those illnesses that is miserable (a really bad case of it, anyhow), but in my opinion, a funny story is usually gained. Why? You look funny during it, sometimes you can't see, and even after it's gone you usually don't want to risk contaminating your eye makeup (this applies to women...and others), so you force yourself to go all nat-u-ral. By the way, men are such liars when they say women are more beautiful without makeup. Or...that's what I've always thought, but maybe there is some truth to that statement...

I woke up with a mild case of pinkeye yesterday morning, went in for half a day of work and managed a whole day of work today (sans eye numero dos!). I went to Publix to pick up a sub for a late lunch. I decided 2 p.m. or so would be an attractive time (not for me personally...I was a walking disaster all day). I mean, really, who but retired people and stay-at-home moms are at Publix at 2 p.m.? I got my sub with great service and a smile (Publix does top my list as one of my favorite places to go in town. This may seem weird, but the people are friendly and helpful, the store is well organized and I always make at least two new friends), picked up Fontina cheese (my sister turned this girl into a class act, that's right!) and crackers, and headed to check out. A decent looking bag boy was insistent on carrying my two grocery bags out for me. I was thinking to myself, "Dear goodness, fella! You gotta get a new shift with the good times. I look like Quasimodo (without the hump), and here you are trying to take a stroll with me! Weird." I left the store somewhat amused, somewhat confused and very impressed with myself. "Maybe if I just think pretty..."

Luckily, this case of pinkeye wasn't nearly as bad as some I've experienced. Those are the REALLY good stories. For instance, the worst I can remember came about the last week prior to my college graduation. Good thing for me, all I really had to do at that point was find a graduation dress (that no one really even saw) and live it up with my buddies. I remember waking up one morning, and BAM! Pinkeye hit before I even knew what was happening. Before I knew it, both eyes were infected, and I looked like a baby cat (the overfed, fluffy kind). To my advantage, I was not at the trailer alone...

I had two other roommates (we lived in a trailer our last year...yes, I claim being South Alabama Trailer Trash...and will admit it was one of the greatest years of my life). Both roommates (at the time) were finishing up classes, so I was fortunate the friend we had moving into my room immediately after graduation was already in the trailer and in transition mode to getting her stuff squared away. This meant I was parked on one couch the final week of my college career, and she was on the other (because she didn't have the motivation to actually get things arranged...she had the whole summer for that).

The "new roommate" Marion and I, to this day, joke about our setup in the living room that one week we were roommates. I'm all about being personable, so instead of packing all my photos away, I kept a few frames out and adorned my desk (sitting beside the door, ready to hit the road) with them. Marion did the same. It was really quite homey.

What I appreciated most about Marion's presence was her ability to be my "guide dog", per say, during my most terrible case of pinkeye. For the record: Marion is a very attractive girl, so please don't take my "guide dog" comment to mean I'm bringing her looks into this comparison.

Anyhow, back on subject, my pinkeye was just starting to get really bad, and luckily, Marion didn't really feel like doing much that week other than watching "Everyone Loves Raymond" reruns. I remember waking up on the couch one morning, and not being able to open my eyes. Either of them. They were stuck. I began wailing like a dying zoo animal (not sure what kind, but I would guess a more exotic breed). "I can't see! I can't seeee!!!" I thought I was saying to myself. Then there was a burst of laughter and a, "Torie, I'm right here." She brought me wet washcloths to pry my eyes open, and even when I couldn't open them, she was right there on the couch beside me, explaining what Ray Romano was doing during the episode (whichever episode it was). I will never forget the faithful friendship...and now look back and laugh. Thank you, Marion, for laughing and (literally) leading me back to healthy sight.

Now, I live alone, and I pray to the good Lord that I don't get attacked with another case of pinkeye like college days past. My fish can't do anything to help, and I'm pretty sure my cat Mick would take advantage of my handicap by tripping me. If you are a personal friend and like to watch "Everyone Loves Raymond" reruns, give me a call or hit me up on Facebook. I'd like to be proactive in case this deal goes bad.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The sweaty brunette's guide to picking up men at the gym.

Ahhh...2012...a new year. As New Year's Eve approached a few days ago, a minor amount of depression set in. What had I accomplished in the past year that was great and significant? I found myself focusing on the negatives: I still hadn't forced myself to learn Espanol via the Rosetta Stone; I hadn't run a marathon like I promised myself; I hadn't made astounding progress at work; and I was single another year, reminding me not only that I would spend New Year's Eve without a midnight kiss, but also that I had once again failed at a romantic relationship in 2011.

Luckily, pensive Torie came to the rescue with some positive thoughts. What had I accomplished in 2011? Well, I had a new blog that seemed to make people laugh (whether is was with me or at me) and make my mom cry; I welcomed a dog-cat into my family of three (me and my two fish Jeeter and Clio), and managed to keep him alive and liking me; and I somehow fit into the same clothes I did last year (although they're a little bit snug after the holiday feasts).

Health: there's a biggie (no pun intended...haha...but seriously, I'm cracking myself up with that one). Why does health and losing weight always land the nation's top three New Year's resolutions? Maybe it's because America's idea of "more for your money" is making us all obese. Maybe it's because we enjoy feeling good about ourselves and know good health is where that "natural feel good" is at (hippies are completely at liberty to disagree with that statement). Or...maybe it's because the New Year strategically lands right after Thanksgiving and Christmas, and right before bikini and sundress season. I take back the last bit of that last sentence...this year I was wearing shorts on Christmas, and am pretty sure it was warm enough to go swimming a couple days ago. Anyhow, you get what I'm saying.

Whatever the case for weight loss topping the charts, I've developed some thoughts on health and working out. I can say I did something productive when the end of 2012 comes around, please say my first blog post of the year made a significant impact on your life. least made you laugh.

Although I'm very much a runner, I joined a gym when I first began working after college to (attempt to) keep things tight. The gym is also good for other things like scoping out men and laughing (not necessarily together...but sometimes it happens). Why do I say "scoping" instead of "picking up" men? Because...c'mon, let's get serious, the only girls who pick up men at the gym are the blondes who don't sweat. If I didn't sweat at the gym, I would not be truly working out, therefore, I would not have been able to fit in the same clothes this year. For this reason, I am totally cool with the fact that I only "scoped" at the gym again this year.

Actually, I almost did pick up a man at the gym once...with my truck. I was jamming (as usual) to the radio, pulling into the gym, and almost hit this guy in the parking lot. I saw him at a machine later inside, and gave him the wave and nod. He removed one earbud, and I said, "Sooo...I wasn't trying to run over you in the parking lot. Close call, but glad you're okay." That must've been the trick because he introduced himself and then just happened to be working out where I was 30 minutes later and started a 30 minute conversation. Turns out he was the type of guy who wore long hair and high socks to the gym (guess he was a modest man, and was trying to ensure he was covered). Lesson learned: I can pick up guys at the gym. I just need to start trying to run over the cute ones.

Long before the thought of scoring dates at the gym occurred to me, I had just moved to town and was looking for ways to meet cool people, make new friends. Why not the gym? I quickly decided the gym was just to workout, after this jerk broke my "gym friendship" spirit. He was in front of me at the water fountain, filling up his water bottle. He looked like a friendly guy, so I decided I would make a friend. "Geezzz, you gonna fill up that entire bottle?" I asked him jokingly (or what I thought was jokingly). He got this scared look on his face, and backed away apologizing. I laughed and said I was kidding, but it didn't help the matter. Through trial and error, I've come to accept that my style of joking can be rather abrupt, and people aren't sure if they should laugh or run. I would say 99.9% of the time you should laugh.

Other things you need to know if you're about to immerse yourself in the land of hot bods: how to react if your treadmill neighbor lets out a really horrid fart; how to properly communicate with others when your iPod is on full blast; and how to gracefully fall off an ab crunch ball.

Horrid farts. Wow, let me tell you...this one is a doozie. It's bad enough when you accidentally let one slip, but it's almost just as horrible when your neighbor does. Why? Well, when this happened to me, I was confused at what reaction to take. Naturally, I was about to gag because it smelled so bad. Then, I wanted to laugh because...well, c'mon, someone just let one rip on the treadmill. While I was doing my best to hold my giggles in, it occurred to me that no one was certain "who done it", so if I looked like it was my personal joke, they would choose me (the brunette, who was sweating really bad) to blame it on. How did I resolve this? I ended my expression with one that was a mixture of horrified and disgusted. With that said, if you can avoid the earlier stages, I believe the disgusted look is the best one to take.

iPod communication. This is critical. It took me awhile to realize exactly how loud I was speaking when I said hello to a friend (these were all friends I met outside of the gym...we've already established making friends at the gym is impossible for me), while leaving my earbuds in. One day I witnessed a guy singing a rock song really loud, and decided I best take precaution with my gym communication. People will give you the stink eye really quickly ("stink eye" in this case doesn't...but could...refer to the previous paragraph) for things of this nature. Sometimes, though, you just can't help it. For instance, one day I was doing box jumps and ran out of breath and felt myself making this absurd grunt noise. Luckily, only guys with long hair and tall socks were around, so it didn't embarass me too terribly bad. Just be careful...they can hear what you can't.

Regarding the "gracefully falling off an ab crunch ball"...there's no way to do it. I've done it at least three times (with an audience two of three times), and it's never looked like I meant to do some cool trick I was practicing for the circus. Laugh it off and take a bow. Falling is okay at the gym. Farting is not.

Now, go forth into the gym world and achieve those buns of steel! And...if you learn how to make friends and/or pick up a good-looking man (while still maintaining a high enough heart rate to burn calories), while you're there, please give me a call with this insight.