Friday, January 23, 2009

Assassination Vacation-Sarah Vowell

It's been a while since I've done a post about reading. Well, that's because it's been a while since I actually *did* some reading. I'd been taking a break from the reading probably around the holidays. Once Thanksgiving is over, most things come to a halt except caroling and gift buying. This year was extra stressful due to the two weeks of snow we encountered. You'd think I'd just curl up in a ball and read, but instead I just watched tv and or got stranded at Isaiah's house watching tv (which is nice cuz he gets more channels than me.) Also, as most things go, I wanted to be "in the mood" for a book. I'm still reading Slaves in the Family, as well as still interested in The Historian, but none of them were peaking my interest . . . until I came across a CNN interview on Sarah Vowell's most recent book The Wordy Shipmates. This book is about her quirky, humorous and Jeapordy-like knowledge about the puritans pilgramage to the US. When I heard this, I thought Omigosh, this will be great for my brother, him being a history buff and all. Then I thought, wait, I'm a history buff too, this will be perfect for me too! Thus, on my one of two outings, I made it to Powell's. However, instead of The Wordy Shipmates, I got Assassination Vacation because it was on sale. I thought, well Renato's birthday isn't for another month, I'll just buy it now, plus maybe I can read it before I give it to him ;) And that, I am doing.
I love Assassination Vacation so far. I did not read it as religiously as I should have when I bought it, but starting last week, I just can't put the book down when I pick i up at night. also, I don't want to drag it to the gym or work, because I still want it to look new for when I give it to my brother, oh, next week . . . shh don't tell.
I must say, I'm really enjoying this book and Ms. Vowell is a great story teller of history. She takes her work and her commentary very seriously, but it's delivered in a way that is welcoming, like she's telling someone a story. She has an unhealthy obsession with Abraham Lincoln and cherishes road triping to historical sites. Ah, kindred spirits? Perhaps, but I suck at the kind of writing that she could do.
So if you're interested in history with a nice sharp tongue pick up Assassination Vacation where Sarah Vowell takes you through the four major presidential assassinations starting with Lincoln. And I must say, the timing is perfect because there was one such president inaugurated just this past week who is equally (probably not so unhealthily) obsessed with Lincoln as well.

p.s. I got internet at home and feels good. But I gotta control myself . . .

Thursday, January 15, 2009

LA Fitness-The Pearl

Verdict: Not impressed.

I started going to the gym probably around middle school time. In retrospect, I think it was an insistence from my brother to my mother that I was getting a bit too chubs. That was the fattest time of my life. This brother never made me feel fat and never said mean things about my weight, instead he just tried to help. I started going to Gold's Gym with him in Beaverton (it's now Laser Tag). We'd do cardio, and weights. He'd help me and encourage me. I think we went about 3 times a week. I began high school and joined the volleyball team and quit the gym. I supposed that helped lean me out. I always hated working out: running, crunches, squats, etc. I hated it all, but I only did it for fall season, then it was back to my lazy self. I did play softball freshman year in the spring, but then softball turned into musicals and I gave the work out stuff up.
Then came UO. As a student, you get a membership all built in. It's a great *idea* but actually getting to it was another thing. I'm not sure how much I went, but it wasn't often. Perhaps the last year, I went a bit more religiously, but never as I do now. I wish I had, but heck, in University, there are much more important things to do like meet boys, socialize and do good in school. Who thinks about their weight.
Then came post-college. I lived with my parents. My nephew's mother (my oldest brother's ex wife) put me on her family plan for the SW Community Center they had just built on SW Vermont by Gabriel Park. At first I was a bit resistant since I'd felt they'd RUINED my beautiful park with their flashy pools, gyms and parking lot, but once I was there, I loved it. It was small and quaint and family oriented. I think by the time Kelly and Isaiah came up from Eugene to move in, I'd stopped going. We'd gotten an apartment behind Jackson Middle school so Kelly and I decided to get up at the butt crack of dawn to go jogging around the track. It actually worked quite well for the first year (I think). I had to be at work at 8am and since Kelly worked from home, she wanted to get an early start too. So up we were, at 6am. I'd get up, knock on her door to wake her up (or else she'd not get up) and off we were. Depending on the weather, we were either in t-shirts and shorts, or sweat shirts and hats. One time, it was so icy, couldn't make it down the hill to the track, but at least we tried, right? We were doing pretty well. Kelly had her jog and jazzersise, I had my work out dvds and body for life I followed. But after a while, jogging around a track got very monotonous for me and I couldn't do it. So I decided to get myself a membership to the SW Community Center again. I really enjoyed going there because of the reasons previously stated, but also because I could work out and watch tv. I'm a tv junkie. I like watching tv and if I can do two for one, I'm happy. There, they had about 5-6 tvs and each piece of equipment-bike, treadmill, elliptical, stairs-had a device that you hooked your headphones in and listened to the tv, or radio if you wanted. I loved it. I could jog and watch Law and Order, or use the elliptical and watch What not to Wear.
From living with Kelly, to living with parents and finally living in NW, I was looking for a gym that was equally as fantastic as the little SW Community Center. I went to 24 hour Fitness in the Pearl and that was a mistake. It was like the UO gym all over again. Pretty, teeny tiny little woman, and huge muscle men. Not my scene. I just wanted to go, work out and head out.
Then I found Gold's Gym at on NW Overton. It was small, had people that looked like they were interested in working out, not hooking up and had *almost* the same type of setting as SW. And since at the time I lived so close, I didn't have to use the showers, a bonus! There were three treadmills that had tvs attached so when I ran, I always tried to use those. Then it got bought out by LA Fitness. I asked about the tvs being hooked up to the equipment and they assured me that there would be new equipment at the new LA Fitness they were building in the pearl.
I stayed on at LA Fitness because of it's location and size. Since I moved once again, it was more of a walk, but it was familiar. I knew when to go when it wasn't too busy, what equipment to use, how the showers worked. The only thing I did notice was that they had two clocks in the whole place. No clock in the locker rooms. I attributed that to the fact that they were moving in mere months.
Now fast forward to today. It takes me about half an hour to walk to the gym. Ok, no big deal, whatever, walking is good for you. I walk in and its MAJESTIC. I mean, there are a few things here and there that need to be done, but it looks FANTASTIC. I can see the large pool and the top floor for weights. The welcome? Not so much. It gave me a feeling of sterility. There are no signs as to where things are (this place is three stories tall.) I had to ask for the locker room because no one offered it up. It's down a hall in the back. I'd never had found that. I walk in and all the lockers are cherry wood color, how impressive. I walk around a bit more. There is a sauna and a showers and bathrooms. Ok cool, looks good. I stuff all my things in a locker and to the cardio section. One of my observations was that the pool faces Lovejoy and I don't think the windows are tinted. Can you imagine, strangers can see you in your bathing suit! So off to cardio, I see a few locals and oo and aw about what I see. So many machines, so many tvs! I finally walk over to an area that DOESN'T have sports playing and try to figure out how to listen to tv. The television has a sign that says "tune to 80.7" NOT a good sign. I realize there are no plug ins for my head phones and I look around a realize, WTF, it's like the last one. I turn around and ask one of the locals about this and they say yes, you need a radio. Are you kidding me?! Who has a radio! So I'm am profoundly disappointed. Am I supposed to go out there and upgrade my ipod? Am I supposed to by an iPhone? WTF. Not only is this gym far away and sterile, now I can't even HEAR the tv, again.
So, after a disappointingly silent tv run (I listened to my ipod, again), I hit the showers. I grab my shampoo/conditioner and body wash, my rag and my towel and go through the door to the showers. I walk in and none of the shower have actual towel hooks, those are located *before* you enter the shower area. So I'm supposed to walk down naked to one of these showers? Niiice. I barely walk around naked with my boyfriend, let alone strangers! Luckily, it's early and no one is around. So I turn on the water of the shower closest to a towel and it's just cold. So walk down to the next shower, cold, my jiggly bits bouncing about, hoping no one walks in, and hop into that shower. Luckily it warms up and then I look and there is no where to put any of my shower stuff, no basket, no ledge, nothing. So we're supposed to shower, wash our hair with that musky smelling stuff we wash our hands with? I don't think so.
So I'm finally done with my shower and hobble over to my towel trying to wrap it around myself with one hand cuz the other is busy holding my shower stuff. I get to my spot and begin drying off and dressing. I reflect on my whole gym experience there at the pearl and I come to the conclusion that it's more frustrating than not. I make a mental note to start searching for a gym that is smaller and more quant and if I do decide to switch, make sure they have TVs that you can actually *hear* when you work out.
I'm sure there *is* a simple solution to all this, but I'm just not impressed by all their glitz. I just want to work out, watch tv while I do cardio, shower without feeling humiliated and for God's sake, would it kill you to have a clock in the locker room?!

UPDATE: After looking around for other smaller gyms that don't exist in my area, I've decided to stay here. I've compromised with myself that although it's far away, it's better than nothing, so now I have to drive (DRIVE!) to work 2-3 times a week to get to the gym in the mornings. But, on a good note, they finally put towel hooks next to each shower. Yay! And also, the sound system is working so there is actually music playing. But still NO CLOCK IN THE DRESSING ROOM!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

How's it going?

It's going well thank you!

I've successfully been able to maintain my positivity through out a few rough bumps in the past few weeks. Snow on Christmas eve? We'll ride the bus. The bus did not show? Call my brother for a ride. Had to come into work the Friday after New Years after having been given it off? Well, at least I got to sleep in, come in late and leave early. My television *still* gets no reception even with the digital converter box? Well, I guess it's time to buy a new flat screen with the money I got from caroling. Didn't work out for the last three weeks? Well, I lost half a pound, not gained five. The slide show didn't work out as planned. No problem, only I knew what was wrong (as MANY people kept reminding me.)

So there ya go. I have no New Year's Resolutions, just a continuation of goals I've been wanting to achieve. So far so good.

I do have plans: To continue to work out, continue to cook, mostly healthy food and continue to be positive.

Yeah, I think I can do it!