Monthly Archives: November 2011

Take 2: Never Take Me To An Exercise Class, Ever, NO I MEAN SERIOUSLY EVER!

Colours of Cattiz was doubtful there could be a worse exercise class than the one described yesterday. (Short version: I knocked a stationary bicycle onto my leg in the middle of a Spin class.) I’ll let you be the judge of whether the next experience is worse. In my mind, it is. But everything is relevant. The third and LAST ever class is so embarrassing that I don’t even know if I can post it. Y’all, it is seriously that bad. I don’t think anyone has ever humiliated themselves more. Ever. In the history of the UNIVERSE.

As you can imagine, the Spin fiasco became legendary around the office. Lisa would tell the tale to an incredulous audience, gasping for breath from too much laughing. Later she would add the punchline: “And she had a bruise the size of a MUFFIN on her leg for three months!” Soon I was approached by many co-workers to attend many different activities with them: rock-wall climbing, Hip Hop Funk (NO), Salsa dancing. This went on for over a year. I think they all wanted a spectacular Jjiraffe story. I said no way to all and sundry.

Until Darcy and I met and settled into domestic bliss. In other words, we started cooking and eating a lot. I put on a few pounds and my jogging routine was curtailed so I had more time to shop at the grocery store, where I bought things like capers and spaghetti and Bibolis and all sorts of fattening love foods. So when my colleague Elizabeth approached me about a new class, I was vulnerable. This time, though, I would go in prepared. I peppered her with many questions: was this a beginner class? Could the least athletic person in the world get through this class? Was there heavy machinery that I could knock over onto my leg? The answers to all these questions were satisfactory.

Elizabeth thus brought me into class number two: Introduction to Kickboxing. I can hear you groaning: of all the classes, Jjiraffe, why THAT? I can see you thinking of all the possible scenarios in which I could wreak havoc on myself: I could get kicked in the head, I could knock down a punching bag. And I had thought of those scenarios myself and solutions to avoid them. I would hit the punching bag really lightly. I would have super aware senses to protect me from others’ flying limbs.

I was a little intimidated when the instructor, who looked Taye Diggs, if Taye Diggs had been an Army Ranger for 10 years, introduced himself. This time though, I wouldn’t pretend like I knew what I was doing. I raised my hand and said: “I’ve never been to a kickboxing class before!”

Turns out, that was a big mistake.

Taye was very intrigued by my green status. He wanted to teach someone completely fresh to the subject, in hopes that they would develop excellent form and be a kickass kickboxer. It became clear right away, though, that kickboxing was NOT the sport for me. What HAD intrigued me about it was that you use your legs a lot. I have a lot of lower body strength, like most women. In terms of my upper body strength, I think I am in the bottom 1% of everyone in the world. I have narrow shoulders, small bones and limited endurance. Turns out, that particular kickboxing class was 80% arm punches and 20% leg kicks.

Taye, in his efforts to mold me, pretty much left his class to itself. (“Partner UP, everyone! Practice your uppercuts now! Now, roundhouse kicks!” I was Taye’s partner, up front and center.) Which meant everyone was paying attention to my every kick, punch and jab, all of which were terrible, even the kicks. I could tell Taye was getting frustrated, but his method to try to improve my uppercuts was to increase the frequency and repetition of them. “Aim HERE! Punch THERE!” he kept yelling. Always the people pleaser, I tried to keep up the best I could.

Ten minutes in, the exertion was starting to take its toll on my gentle body. Have you ever run really fast, so fast you thought your insides might come out of your body, starting with your lungs? That’s what I felt like. Then, suddenly, bile started to rise. I realized I was going to hurl: I had the watery jowls. How could I make my escape in the midst of performing for the whole class and strict drill sargent Taye? I tried to say excuse me, but had to put my hand over my mouth to prevent the vomiting. I ran out of the room as fast as I could and made it to the trash can outside the hall, whereupon I heaved my guts out. Unfortunately, the trashcan was clearly visible to the kickboxing room. I looked up to see every single person in the class staring at me in horror. Including Mr. Diggs. So I did what brave Sir Robin would do. I bravely ran away.

Then I made a horrible realization: my bag with my wallet and keys was back inside the kickboxing room! I was going to have to go back in there and subject myself to total humiliation to get it. I couldn’t do it. So I trudged down the hall to the front desk (because of course my cell phone was in the bag) and asked them if I could make a local call. Luckily they relented.

I called Darcy and begged him to come help me. Fortunately, it was early in our relationship when he would do pretty much anything for me. (Behold the power of Biboli pizzas!) He boldly marched up there, grabbed my purse and waved at Elizabeth, cheekily. I will never forget that.

Monday, the office eagerly waited for an update from Elizabeth. They were not disappointed.

Seriously, I don’t know if I can post Class #3. Are these cheering you up and making you laugh? Are they making your morning a little brighter? If the answer is yes from enough readers, I GUESS I’ll man up and post it. But it is seriously mortifying. There are times when I remember it randomly and cringe. Still. Ten years later!



Filed under Dumb

Never Take Me To An Exercise Class, Ever, NO I MEAN SERIOUSLY NEVER EVER!: Take One

Many, many well-intentioned people I know urge me to take exercise classes. “Jjiraffe, take a Spin Class!” they’ll proclaim. “You’ll burn a lot of calories!” Or “Tae Kwon Do will make you feel your strength as a WOMAN, Jjiraffe!” someone will rave. Or, “Yoga will change your life, Jjiraffe. For real.” Or I’ll read a post like this, about the amazing power of emotional clarity that the right workout can provide. Aaaand, I’ll be tempted. REAL tempted.

Then I remember that I’m me. And every exercise class I have ever taken has ended in dramatic, flameout, Borat-style dysfunctional disaster. (Remember when he destroyed that antique store?) People still dine out, years later, on just ONE tale of my three attempts to exercise in a group setting with others. You may think I’m being dramatic. I’m building this up too much. There was that time you tripped during your Flash mob routine of Cee-lo’s “Forget You.” That was embarrassing, right?

Not even. Here’s a taster of humiliation.

Borat asks: You think I can glue this back together?

Foreshadowing, people.

The year: 1997. The setting: Spin Class, Gorilla Sports, San Francisco
The characters: My friend from work, Lisa, and myself. And 50 Spin Class (mostly male) fanatics.

Lisa was my first friend to talk me into an exercise class. (But unfortunately not the last.) I preferred running or working on a treadmill (for no particular reason other than a TOTALLY PSYCHIC Premonition subconsciously keeping me AWAY, the FUCK away from classes) but her description of burning more than 600 calories in a session was really tempting. I asked her if I needed any special skills. “Have you ever ridden a bike?” she asked. Well, duh. Of course I had. I mean, not really since I was in junior high with a three-speed Schwinn, but whatever! Once you’ve ridden a bike, you’ll always know how to ride a bike?

We were a little late to the class so the only two bikes open were in the front of the whole group. I wasn’t keen on a bunch of guys staring at my ass, but I had no choice but to trot up there and awkwardly straddle the bulky stationary bike as everyone watched. My initial hesitation turned into outright panic when the Teutonic instructor barked out “Has anyone not taken this class before?” and no one raised their hand. I wasn’t going to single myself out and encourage even more attention to all those behind my hindquarters. Well, that Schwinn was not too hard to maneuver, right? RIGHT?!

Cue the intensely loud techno music which made it difficult to understand Frau Instructor’s commands. Which were many, and complicated. A lot of gear shifts were talked about. Shifting to lower gears to go uphill or shifting to higher gears to go downhill. I was unsure how to downshift up or down. I’m sure it wasn’t rocket science, but I was becoming increasingly flustered.

Uta’s commands became more intense as she led us on a virtual tour of the Alps. We were climbing a steep precipice on our very own Tour de France (which, ambitious much?) so I shifted to the lower gears, pedaling slowly, my butt in the air. (The last place I wanted it to be.) Then suddenly Frau spotted a sharp drop-off: “Shift higher, pedal faster. FASTER!!!” Jolted by the order, I pedaled really fast, but missed the part about shifting into higher gears.

You can imagine the physics behind my dumb move: The pedals had no resistance but I was pedaling them fast so I soon lost control. No big deal, you say. You can’t lose much control on a stationary bike.

Oh, my friend. You are wrong.

My foot lost its traction on the pedal, but my heel got caught on a strap. (Which I probably should have asked how to secure properly.) In an effort to shake it loose while still pedaling madly on the other side, I stomped my left foot, thus compromising the entire structure. The bike came loose from its underpinnings and in slow terrible motion fell to the left. I collapsed in a heap, with a terrific crash, the bike on top of my left leg and when it landed I was parallel to the floor, still straddling the thing.

The music and class actually stopped while the instructor and my friend struggled to get the bike off my left leg, which hurt a bit, but not as much as my humiliation. People were starting to stiffle their giggles. I mean, who falls off a stationary bike?! If I had been worried about people staring at my butt, well, I had much bigger fish to fry now. My face turned the color of a 49ers sweatshirt. My friend Lisa was initially worried I had injured myself, but the truth was I had injured my pride. And apparently a stationary bike.

She told me later after a few margaritas that nothing like that had EVER happened in the six months she had taken the class. Well, of course not.

My only war wound was a hideous bruise the size of a muffin on my left knee and thigh. Of course summer was about to begin, of course I was single, of course the bruise was totally ugly and of course the bruise lasted until fall, when I had already packed away my shorts and short skirts.

Not my actual bruise, but pretty similar.


By KoS, Public doman, via Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever performed an epic fail during an exercise class?

Are you strong enough to hear my next tale? It makes the stationary bike disaster look like small potatoes…


Filed under Dumb

Enjoying Your Pregnancy! No, Seriously

No, no, I am not pregnant. But a number of my friends I follow are.

Esperanza pointed out the strange feelings that following pregnant IF bloggers can cause. Esperanza has one child, I have two. She’s in a different place than me. For me, pregnancy blogs sometimes make me feel guilty.

Why’s that?

Well, for starters my pregnancy was full of fear and strange medical terms like “hypermesis”, “round ligament pain” and “irritable uterus”. I had gone through three IVF attempts, one loss. A twins pregnancy is a scary “high-risk” pregnancy, even if you haven’t gone through infertility and loss.

I spent the first six months trying to find food that wouldn’t make me puke my guts out. I could not enter restaurants, even go outside sometimes. Food could not be prepared in my apartment. There are certain streets in San Francisco that I could point out where I vomited, multiple times, due to the smell of cigarettes or, I don’t know, chicken being cooked five blocks away. I spent a lot of time in bed. I went on leave. I was threatened with hospitalization a few times, thankfully never having to spend a night there.

I never had on makeup and rarely took a shower (I puked a lot in there, OK! TMI?). I am proud to say I read “Swann’s Way”, which was so difficult to understand that it kept my mind deliciously occupied, as if I was engaged in a puzzle. I am not so proud to say I watched all of “The Hills”, Season 2. Oh, Lauren. Girl, we SO needed to talk in 2007.

AT 28 weeks, I had my babies’ shower. It was a beautiful, stunning party put on in an art-filled mansion by one of my MIL’s friends. I remember feeling like a deer in the headlights. There is only one photo of the event, and it is not of my “Bump”.

In fact, I only have one photo of me “bumping out”, as EOnline is calling pregnancy now, as if it were a simple fashion trend some celebrities have decided to try on for size. I don’t know when it was taken. My parents had sent me a fun top to wear, and Darcy insisted on a photo of me in it. I am so, so glad he did.

At 31 weeks, I had to go to the ER for premature contractions. Luckily a drug was able to stop them. At 33 weeks, I had to go back. They were stopped again. During that time, I tried not to be scared out of my gourd. I spent a lot of time watching tremendously bad reality TV shows, all from Bravo and MTV. I was prescribed official bedrest.

Finally at 35 weeks my OBGyn, who was an amazing, stress-free, breezy lady who always made me feel calm, breathed and said I should enjoy my life now, quick, before I was a mother. That last week was fun. I was able to eat in one restaurant where my girth freaked the heck out of our hostess, who made sure we knew we were seated VERY close to the exit. Hee!

All this is to say, I look back and am sorry I DIDN’T document my pregnancy with more photos. I wish I had OWNED my pregnancy more, instead of feeling like a ginormous fraud. I wish I had allowed more people to fuss over me.

So preggo bloggers: keep on documenting. Show your bump at all the stages. Buy pretty maternity clothes. Let family and friends spoil you a little or a lot. And tell us about it! You deserve to enjoy this. You have earned it. Don’t let fear rule.

Because soon, this will be you.

Did you enjoy your pregnancy? Are you enjoying your pregnancy now?


Filed under Family, Infertility