Thursday, February 25, 2010

shows we ain't gonna take it, shows we ain't gonna stand shit

Most women would lose a few pounds before going swimsuit shopping. It makes sense; most of us don't want to be showing our 'wobbly bits,' as a former blogger I liked would say.

But when you decide, based on feedback from your doc, encouragement from a few students and your office mate, to use swimming as the exercise of choice to lose the weight -- it's the most non-impact and safe for iffy joints -- it means that you have to go swimsuit shopping while. you're. fat.

Hey, when your office mate offers to be your workout partner for four nights a week -- two swimming, two gym -- and she has been running in the morning for the past eight years so you know she's dedicated and will keep you honest, you sort of jump at the opportunity. Right?

So you schedule a Thursday after work to go swimsuit shopping, only to be hit by a major snowstorm. Only you won't let that stop you...oh no, a little snowstorm won't get in the way of next Monday's swim.

So you trod through slushy snow and icy temps to penn station, and hit the only two stores in the area that might have suits that fit: Lane Bryant, and Macy's. You walk two blocks to Lane Bryant first, only to find that they won't be carrying suits in that particular store, just online. The closest store to carry suits will be in Brooklyn.

Hello? Buying a swimsuit ONLINE???!!! You'd have to have a good $1500 handy to order a dozen of them to try, or try one or two at a time -- which would take you six months to find a fucking suit that fit.

So on you trudge, back out in the treacherous, slippery, wet cold, back a block to Macy's (did you know you use entirely different muscles to stay on your feet in slippery circumstances, than you do for regular'll be very sore later on). Their directory says plus sized swimsuits on 5, so you go there. No suits at all. So you try 7, where the other plus clothes are. Nothing. You finally ask someone. Have you tried 8, the salesclerk says. That's where everything was moved to from 5.

Sure, that makes sense -- not. But up you go to 8, and there you are greeted by a fairly large selection of suits. You walk through the lot, but don't see any plus sizes. So you ask the salesclerk, who says the plus sized suits haven't been delivered yet.

And of course that makes perfect sense. Because as you well know, the designers, the retailers, and half the world are not-so-subtly telling you that they don't want you fatsos even trying on swimsuits, let alone actually wearing them in public. They wouldn't be able to handle the trauma of not being able to take their eyes away from the train wreck of you in a swimsuit with all those wobbly bits actually wobbling.

So you walk through the suits, over and over, pulling anything off the racks that might come close to fitting you, and you take the first dozen into a fitting room. The clerk in the fitting room is quite nice, so your experience isn't horrible in that respect. But let's just say that everything you try is an exercise of its own -- an exercise in futility.

And you're not even looking, at this point, for anything pretty or that makes you feel good about yourself. No, you just want something that fits, something simple, and something on the modest side. Modest, because you'll be exercising in the university pool, and you wouldn't want to be embarrassed all to hell if you ran into a student, or god forbid, the college president.

So you go out to pick through the racks again, willing to try two-piece tankini sets and swimskirts and things, as long as you're covered. And you try one more time in the dressing room. And the very. last. thing. that you try on, actually fits. It fits! Nearly three hours and two dozen suits later, you hit paydirt.

And while it doesn't make you look lovely, it doesn't completely embarrass you either. It's not so tight that anything hangs over the edges. And if you adjust the straps in the front, it'll keep the top up to a modest coverage in the chestal area.

Talk about a miracle on 34th street!!!!!!!! Sure, it mashes your boobs down which emphasizes your huge tummy even more, but you're willing to deal with that. Really, you are. It fits!

And then you look at the tag and discover it's a designer suit: Calvin Klein, of all people. And it's a whopping $112. So you go up to the cash register to use your Macy's card, and it's denied. Apparently the payment you made online two days ago hasn't posted to your account yet. So you have to pay with your debit card.

And so, you do what any reasonable woman would do after such a traumatic evening. You pay for the suit, and then you find yourself just a little bit of some really good chocolate. And you find your guilty pleasure: a People mag.

After a stop at Modell's for a swim cap (required in the pool) and goggles (a necessity for a contact lens wearer), a subway ride, and a brief walk, you arrive home soaked from toes to knees, frozen, and exhausted.

A quick dinner of leftovers, and you plop on the sofa with the portable heater and a blanket, your chocolate, and the People mag, to watch the finals of the women's figure skating in Vancouver. But because the stupid station has split up all the sports, you'll need the crossword puzzle in the mag, and the chocolate, to keep you occupied when the station goes to something totally lame like curling.


You know there's a special place in hell for swimsuit designers. One where they all get fat. And then have to wear their own designs.

photo is the actual suit, but of course picturing it on the model won't help you visualize it on me, now will it?

Friday, February 12, 2010

open up your mind, let your fantasies unwind, in this darkness which you know you cannot fight

I’m still coming down from the high of Phantom on Broadway. There’s just nothing quite like seeing it in person, even from the cheap seats. I treated myself tonight, for my birthday. Treated myself to a little magic.

I started the evening with dinner; I had a brief window of opportunity between work and Phantom, so I chose a place in Times Square that I’d wanted to go to but hadn’t been yet. Bubba Gump’s was right around the corner from the Majestic, where Phantom was playing. I sat at the bar, as single diners tend to do, and had – what else – the shrimp. Crab stuffed, to be exact. It was just ok, but nothing to write home about.

While I was eating, the table behind me had one of those birthday things where the waitstaff sing to the customer. It seems someone was turning 21. I wanted to shout ‘hey, it’s my birthday too! And it’s another milestone, just like 21.’ In fact, I felt like saying ‘it’s my birthday’ everywhere I went tonight, but resisted the urge – seeing that I’m totally non-exhibitionist.

A show isn’t absolutely perfect unless it ends with a tear in my eye…and it did. But then, I went expecting that it would, and so I wasn’t disappointed. Of course, I have the soundtrack on my Zen, so I listened to my two favourite songs all the way home. Yes, that would be Phantom and Music of the Night. Aren’t those everyone’s favourite songs? Hell, I would have watched the movie version when I got home if I’d had it.

I felt so great leaving the theatre, despite the strong realization that I was, in fact, alone on the evening before my birthday. I went to dinner alone, the theatre alone, and home alone. And yet, I realized that until I got home, I wasn’t really alone. I was surrounded by people.

I was happy despite the tear in my eye, content, excited, enjoying myself. I moved to the music while waiting for the subway, and even stood all the way home on the subway, playing those two songs over and over. Yep, eleven at night, and the woman who grumbles when she can’t sit and sleep on the train refused to sit even though there were open seats. I stood, and silently sang along with the songs, keeping my good mood going. I may have looked like a crazy bag lady, but I was feeling fine.

The Majestic Theatre is a few doors down from a branch of NYC’s very own Junior’s. I figured I owed myself a little treat, but you would have been proud of me. I didn’t go hog wild and bring home a whole cheesecake, much as I wanted to. I picked up two little items, as seen in the photo: a chocolate ambrosia, and a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing. I ate half of each when I got home, and am saving the other halves for tomorrow. They were heaven, absolute heaven.

I didn’t want the evening to end. It was early, by NYC standards, only 11 when I hopped on the train. I would have hung out in the Square for an hour, but it was so bitterly cold, windy, snow still filling the gutters. But I need to do this more. Get out, among people, instead of shutting myself up alone in my apartment for three days a week. Do things, fun things. Things that make me happy, that make me feel like I’m part of…the world. Things that make me feel like I’m alive.

Happy birthday to me!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements?

Even if it leads nowhere...

Although classes began last Thursday, this was the first full week of classes for the semester. Hence, the word crazy could be used to describe the goings-on. Last minute syllabi, overtallied courses, not enough desks, nervous students in 101, more savvy students in the upper level courses.

An example of the hilarity: Last night, student A came to me after class to lodge a complaint about Student B, who apparently sat next to Student A. According to Student A, Student B "farted constantly, slept through the whole class, and smelled like booze." Student B, incidentally, had missed the first day of class completely. Of course, Student B slipped out while I was speaking with other students, but I don't think I would have confronted him/her anyway. Everyone gets one chance. But if it happens again, there will be a discussion -- no one shows up drunk or hungover for my classes.

I stayed late at work today, mostly because I wasn't paying attention. I didn't have my watch today, because of something that happened earlier that had me frazzled. Anyway, I was hard at work and looked up at the time on the computer and it was 8:30! So I packed it in, and then spur of the moment decided to pop into a classroom where a fellow prof, a part-time adjunct, had just finished class, and chatted with him for about an hour. While we were in the classroom, the mice came out to play -- literally. And I teach in that classroom too...shudders.

Today I spent the morning at home instead of work because I was waiting for a fedex delivery. It turned out to be a really good decision, because there was a minor disaster just as I was getting ready to leave. The elderly woman above me had apparently turned on her kitchen faucet and then forgotten about it. I noticed when it started raining water from my bathroom ceiling, literally as I was walking out the door.

So being there meant I could call the super. Of course, he was at work, but his wife came over, saw the mess, and went upstairs to find out what happened. I was able to put down heavy towels, put the roaster pan under the remaining drips, and unplug all the appliances. All seemed well, but when I got home, I turned on the bathroom light and noticed it seemed 'off' somehow. It was more yellow, and not as bright as it should be. I checked the light, and saw a drip or two of water coming down, so I thought I'd take off the light fixture and check it out.

Whoa, baby! As I unscrewed the screws holding up the upside-down glass bowl fixture, hot hot hot water began to spill out. The fixture had filled up completely with water earlier in the day, and when I turned on the light, the heat nearly boiled the water. Of course I'm scared now, as there is white foam all over the wires and the ceiling, so I'll have to have the super check it out tomorrow.

So, no surprise that I blew it and bought something bad for dinner. It was late, it'd been a rough day/week, and I felt like I'd been doing really well with my food plan for the last couple of weeks. I picked up a pepperoni roll on the way home, walking in the front door about 10:30.

And I'm beat.

And very glad I get to sleep in tomorrow.

photo mine, from the ziplining ecosafari...this is one of the aerial bridges we zipped can still see the holiday lights hanging, from their holiday evening zipping tours