Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Night of the Ginger Abduction

I had a night out in Chicago that was weird enough to write about. It started out as a date night with Capricorn. Now, I just remember it as the night we ran into the Ginger Kid whom I will always wonder about. She haunts me.

I hope you stayed in the cab and went home that night.


Here's my story:

There is an epidemic going on in Chicago and I'm not talking about Swine Flu or Twilight Fever. It's called--well, I call it-- Ho-ery of the Fourth Kind. Specifically of the Ginger variety. Taken from the scale "scientists" use to classify Alien Abductions, the "Fourth Kind" dictates that the offender has makes physical contact with you and in the general sense of the term, abducts you.



Lakeshore Theater, Chicago, Comedy
The much-missed Lakeshore Theater.

The Ho-ery I speak of seems to happen mostly on Broadway ave., near Belmont (previous home to the infamous Lakeshore Theatre, now Laugh Factory). Hos of all ages, shapes and sizes have been clawing their way out of the gutters and infecting the general population. It's usually just groups of drunken girls singing, throwing empty water bottles and running up and down the sidewalks. Sometimes they are crying--barefoot and intoxicated-- about a current/ex-boyfriend who mistreats them.

Sometimes they just want tacos.

But, there's always the exception. Here is a recap of a recent outbreak:

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
2:45am, Saturday

Mid-twenties heterosexual couple leaves Laugh Factory, crosses Broadway ave. heading South to check out a condo posting they saw earlier in the day. Couple (Ok it's Capricorn and I) makes it safely across the street, reads the condo posting taped to window front of local Thai restaurant. Couple is joined only by two men smoking cigarettes twenty feet away, softly talking about meteors. (the real topic of conversation, people watching and eavesdropping can be fun).


Carrot Top
When I try to picture her this is all that comes to mind.

In bursts small, hot mess of a Ginger Kid girl (GK), possibly early twenties. GK bumps into couple, slurs an apology, stumbles the twenty feet to meteor-loving men, knocks into both of them, drops her wallet, bends over to pick it up, and falls on the pavement. This is where things go a little sideways...

Upon watching Ginger Kid lay on the pavement for a full minute, the four unlikely comrades realize the GK is alone, at nearly 2am, drugged or drunk out of her mind. First meteor lover picks girl up, standing her on her feet. Girl stands, wobbles back and forth, does a rather odd slow-motion version of the Safety Dance, and falls back on the pavement. Hmm... what to do with a GK in need?

Capricorn picks Ginger Kid up, sits her on the awaiting sidewalk bench, and asks the girl what her name is.

(Author's note: Capricorn would later admit he was scared to pick girl up as she may have summoned super-ginger strength and clawed his eyes out.)

GK does not answer. GK cannot answer, but oddly points at First meteor lover. GK widely opens her month, narrows her glazed-over eyes, but is unable to speak coherently. Courtney Love at an open bar.

At this point, we were concerned.

It is at this time I noticed that Ginger Kid's shirt is raised and shows a squared-shaped white bandage below her navel that disappears into the GKs jeans.

I make this deduction: Ginger Kid has either had a recent C-Section, belly-button piercing gone horribly wrong, or tattoo that was badly dressed. None of the options look good, and all of the options would require GK to be sober before and after. Hepatitis may now be an issue.

Ginger Kid refuses hospital, wants to go home. GK expresses a deep desire NOT to go to the hospital by pursing her lips and widely waving her index fingers side to side. Motor skills may be returning, but the speech still needs work.

After much confusion, a contemplation to call the cops or an ambulance and fruitless attempts get the Ginger Kid to formulate full sentences, I looked through GK's wallet and finds her address

(Author's note: it is at this time I noticed a WAD of cash but does NOT steal any.)

Cab is called-- First meteor lover carries Ginger Kid to cab, Second meteor lover pays cab driver extra $10 to get her home safely, Capricorn gives cab driver the address on GK's license where to drop her off. Ginger kid is now the cab driver's responsibility, as she tried to run when group suggested they call her an ambulance. We wave goodbye.

 (Author's Note: we asked her profusely if this is where she lived. She nodded "yes" over and over again.)

We bid goodnight, meteor lovers walk southbound on Broadway, couple walks back to the condo listing to write down the phone number.


Taxi cab, nightlife
Not Cash Cab... how awesome would that have been?

THREE MINUTES LATER: Cab re-arrives. Ginger Kid opens door while cab is still moving, tucks and rolls. Think Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible.

Ginger Kid stands in the street, gets back into cab through the door she widely swung open, and screams out the window, this time coherently, "Thanks, bitches! Let's ride." The cab drives away.

At this point, we were confused. She can talk? 

(Author's Note: Although odd, hearing her speak coherently made me feel a lot better. I had reservations about sending her home in a cab and secretly wanted to call an ambulance and sneak attack her feisty ass.)

Ho-ery of the Fourth fucking Kind. Abducting normal people's evenings leaving them with an incredibly awkward story to tell that they will never fully understand or know the ending. We spent about an hour with this woman and we never get an answer to any of our questions.

Who was this Ginger Kid and what mischief did she get into the night? Why did she choose those four people whom would attempt to get her home safely? How did she get that wad of cash? What was under that bandage?



Kind of like a dream or an alien abduction: no end and no beginning. Madonna, you are so right. I get it now.

I will probably always think about you, Ginger Kid. I hope you got home safely. And I swear I did not take a dollar. Meteor lovers paid for your cab ride home that night.

Hug a Ginger,

Jean

Copyright © 2014 Lady J
All rights reserved

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Squats Are Not Your Friend | Working Out

I am worried about what my ass looks like just as much as the next woman. So I work out. However, I do not buy into the fact that squats are the way to achieve a perfectly sculpted lower body.

squats, ass, women, hot ass, fitness

Whoa, don't turn on me. Hear me out.

There are many exercise enthusiasts out there who love squats. Will sing their praises for days, saying if performed correctly, squats are safe, effective and useful.

I say, ok, but for the pure fact that many people do squats wrong, and when performed wrong, possibly using high weights, the severity of injuring your lower back and knees are not worth the risk when there's other machines out there to get you where you want to be. If exercise is your vocation, then you will do whatever you think is best.

But if you are an average man or woman like me, who just wants to be healthy and in shape without injuring yourself...


1. Squats Are Bad For Your Lower Back: When a squat is performed, the power needed to lift you from a squatting, near floor position requires many muscles to work in tandem. We're talking your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and your core stabilizing muscles. Specifically your erector spinae.


squats, women who squat, ass, hot ass, fitness
Look at her positioning and posture and tell me that doesn't look dangerous
Even with perfect form, studies suggest the risk for stress fractures of the lumbar spine are great. Also, muscle tissue, ligaments and tendons are susceptible to injury. You never realize how important keeping your back healthy is until you injure it. Every breathe you take, move you make (yes, I know I'm quoting the Police) can cause intense pain.

I'm sorry. They just aren't worth it.


2. Squats Are Bad For Your Shoulders and Nerves In Your Neck: If you complete a squat, with or without an assistant machine (meaning you use barbells), whatever weight you think you are lifting with your legs you are directly applying to your shoulders. And your neck and trapezius (upper back) muscles assist. As a woman, I squat close to 80% of my body weight. While yes, my lower body is pretty muscular and developed... I cannot say the same for my upper body. And these are the muscles that are directly coming into contact with a barbell, which they struggle to support.

muscles, back

From the male perspective, my fiance squats over 150% of his total body weight. And most times he will feel numbness and lightheadedness during squats. Once to the point where his vision got blurry and saw spots. Supporting that much weight, proper form or not, is not a time you want to pass out. I feel like people don't talk about how taxing this exercise can be on the upper body.

Once again, I don't think the risk is worth the reward.

3. Squats Are Hard to Perform "Correctly": I've heard the argument that squats are perfectly safe if performed correctly. Yet, when you work out with a trainer or enthusiastic friend, it seems like they had many cues or corrections to give you regarding your squatting position.

Coco, squats, stripper heels, hot ass
Really? Stripper heels and no added weight on the bar? Why bother.


You know what? If any exercise takes your 3x as long to do, because you are constantly readjusting yourself, I call bullshit. There's got to be another way.


4. Squats Are Bad For Your Knees: More over from the last few points, squats can be bad for your knees. You are supposed to bend over, keeping perfect form, holding a large weight on your shoulders, and remember not to have your knees bend over your feet. Because if you do, the risk for injury and tearing increase. The risk of tearing your ACL sounds very scary, and not worth an exercise that activates many large muscle groups at once, therefore not isolating your glutes.

squats, ass, hot ass, women who workout, fitness
Knees look like they are moving farther than her feet. Recipe for injury.


5. Squats Require Space: This point may not be as strong as the previous ones, but to perform squats you need space and the equipment. Why I say this is for the fact that you need to have the barbells at home if you work out there, or you need the personal space at the gym to achieve your workout, both of these can be hard to come by. I belong to a gym that is constantly busy. You can find space to stretch or mat exercises, but enough room to perform squats is harder to come by. I've seen it lead to arguments of the "Come at me, bro!" persuasion.

And to do squats at home, given your fitness level and weight can be difficult, as you would have to own enough barbells to do so. And find the space for that too.

Ok, now onto the positive. What do I suggest?

leg press, fitness

The Leg Press Machine. Nothing fancy, just a piece of equipment. It comes in a variety of styles, some are you laying on your back, others you are more in a horizontal sitting position. Either way, I feel like this machine has enough support to allow you to actually use your lower body muscles without taxing your core muscles for stabilization and straining your upper body muscles with weight.

By slighting changing the positioning of your feed (placing your feet shoulder-width apart, and moving them either to the center or towards the top of the foot plate) you can feel the activation in your glutes, hamstrings or quadriceps change. I typically do 3 sets of 10 reps, alternating my feet placement with each set.

My results: I won't post a picture (I'm still working towards a weight-loss goal), but I can tell you my ass has literally changed shape and lifted. It is more round and pronounced (much to Capricorn's approval). Also, my thighs are more toned, smaller and stronger as a whole. I feel confident enough to wear skinny jeans as a plus-sized woman (about a size 12) and that is a major milestone for me.

squats, fitness, women who workout, hot, hot ass, ass
I encourage strength training and think you can get this lower body without a squat.

I say if squats are giving you hell, or you are scared, give the leg press a try. Making sure you complete your rep (push the foot plate as far away from you, then bring the foot plate back to you, allowing your knees to form a 90-degree angle). You will feel a burn, but like all strength training the results are great.

So what do you guys think about the squat-or-not debate?

Nighty night,

Jean

Copyright © 2014 Lady J
All rights reserved

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why You Shouldn't Stand Outside Funeral Homes

Some people may be scared of going to jail or Russia, but I am terrified of Funeral homes. And I used to work near one.

Funerals bother me. They are creepy. Why do you want to see someone like that? In a box. Dressed up. And for hours at a time in a room. It makes me anxious and uncomfortable. I understand the need for closure and mourning, but it's not my deal. Even when I know the deceased, I like to keep my distance.

It didn't help that my cousin told me our grandfather was going to wake up as a zombie and eat my brains at his funeral. He died when I was 5. I'm sure that had something to do with it.
 

Zombie
Grandpa?
I have seen an autopsy and witnessed one too many hospital documentaries. Autopsies don't bother me (unless it's children). That's science. And I have a morbid fascination with the legend that the University of Chicago has a formaldehyde swimming pool full of donated bodies. Seriously? Tell me.

But funeral homes seem different. Like they are creepy places where you just can't feel comfortable. Nor can you understand how someone could go into that business, every day, and act like it's normal.

My Morning Commute Near A Funeral Home:

I was walking to work in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago one warm spring morning when I encountered a terrible sight. On Southport Ave. there is a funeral home. One of those old-school, probably had half the mafia's services, funeral homes. On this unlucky morning, as I was walking towards Fullerton Ave. there was a hearse parked outside the funeral home. I was across the street, happily listening to my iPod.

Upon walking closer, I realized there was a gurney next to the hearse with a black body bag on it. With a body in it.

I did the mature thing.

I shrieked, "Oh my god! No!" While bringing my right hand up to my open mouth. My left hand clutched my coffee. For some reason, much like watching a train wreck, I stopped walking and stared. I stood there on the sidewalk in my adorable new sundress, the one I convinced myself I could wear to work if I wore a cardigan.

What happened next was worse.

Two funeral workers came out of the funeral home (meaning they left the body unattended) and started to move the gurney. Since the gurney was parallel to the hearse, the first order of business was to swing it around, making it perpendicular to the hearse, so it could fit through the front doors. Sounds simple enough.

The sidewalk was cracked and uneven. And there was a small set of stairs leading to the front doors. The workers neglected to realize this.

While the workers moved the gurney (and me still staring at them like a suburban neighborhood watch) two of the wheels became caught on the sidewalk cracks.

The gurney's wheels locked. The gurney went boom. And so did the full black body bag. Flying through the air, hitting the ground with a thud.

Once again, I did the mature thing.

"OH JESUS FUCK! NO!" One hand covering my open mouth was not enough, so I brought my left hand up, spilling my coffee all over my cardigan and dress. I felt the hot coffee spill down my bare legs and realized I was no longer alone on the sidewalk, standing there with other horrified commuters. This had become a thing.


Spilled coffee
Like this, but worse, and horrified.

The workers scrambled to straighten the gurney and then pick up the body bag, rolling it over in the process. Eventually, it was put back on the gurney (I assume face down) and quickly wheeled into the funeral home, front doors slammed shut.

I could not shake that image for the rest of the day. I also couldn't shake the smell of coffee no matter how many times I rinsed my cardigan and dress in the sink and dried my legs with paper towels.

Once I told my boss what happened, as she wanted to know why I was drenched in coffee and looked startled, she began laughing uncontrollably and told me I made her morning. She also asked if I would take a picture for her if I saw it again. I thought it was an odd response. 

She bought me Starbucks so all was well in the world again. At least I had my coffee and an unhealthy fear of what my boss liked to do in her spare time.

The moral of the story: Do not stand outside funeral homes. You are asking for it. And no one likes neighborhood watch.

 Or if you work in the funeral business: Does this stuff happen often?

Come on, tell me anonymously. What else do you guys screw up in this business.

Sweet Dreams,

Jean

Copyright ©  2013 Lady J
All rights reserved

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

When Jesus Is On a Bagel (You Can Eat Jesus Anytime)

Do you remember Bagel Bites? Specifically the pizza kind. I remember eating them mostly in grammar school. I also remember the jingle written for the pizza Bagel Bites commercial.



In case you can't watch the video (at work) I will paraphrase the jingle:



Pizza is the morning
Pizza in the evening
Pizza at supper time
When pizza is on a bagel you can eat pizza anytime!


(Author's Note: I thought evening and supper were the same time)

Well, that catchy little jingle would get stuck in your head. The ad execs did a good job. So good in fact that this jingle made its way into the Catholic school system of Chicago, Illinois.

molly shannon, superstar

Traumatizing High School Anecdote: 
I went to an All-Girls Catholic high school (College Preparatory Academy, if you're fancy). And at that high school was a World Religions teacher and nun that I will call Sister Mary Pop Culture.

She was at least 70, tiny and was judging each and every one of us girls. She thought we were whores, without any evidence besides the length of our uniform skirts. The funny things about Sister Mary Pop Culture was that she would make many references to current television and movies, but would deny that she ever say them. Denied she watched tv. Liar!
nun costume
Ok, she was elderly, but less scary than this. By a smidge.

Sister Mary Pop Culture saw the Bagel Bites commercial. How do I know? Because at the beginning of each World Religions class she would try to make us sing a "song about Jesus." This is how that song went:
 
Jesus in the morning
Jesus in the evening
Jesus at supper time
It's good to praise Jesus anytime!

That is the Bagel Bites song, you lying bitch.
Bagel bites

Sister Mary Pop Culture stole the Bagel Bites song and substituted "Jesus" for "Bagel." She did not come up with that on her own.

So in my head, I would hear the words "When Jesus is on a bagel you can eat Jesus anytime." And I would laugh uncontrollably. And so would the other girls. And Sister Mary Pop Culture would get pissed.

Author's note: I don't even think nuns are allowed to get pissed. That's two strikes, sister.


"Girls [whores], I do not understand what is so funny. We should start each class praising Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Now, let's sing it again. No laughing. Or you will do it again." Sister Mary Pop Culture said with a stern look on her face, beady eyes glaring from under her habit.

And we would do it again, because we had to. But I could not stop my inner voice from saying When Jesus is on a bagel you can eat Jesus anytime. So I would often bite my lip. Or stare at the map of the world on the wall and try to laugh silently. Or breathe in deeply on the last stanza of the song and hold my breath. Sometimes I would breathe in so hard and hold it, it would contract my abdominal muscles and hurt for the rest of class.

I didn't want to sing the song again.


And today, I hear a woman humming the Bagel Bites song to herself at the gym. On the tricep dip machine. I wanted to run to her and scream when Jesus is on a bagel you can eat Jesus anytime!

But I didn't. Because that would have scared the woman I have never spoke to before. Also, I don't understand what it means to, or how you would get Jesus on a bagel. And what kind of connotation eat[ing] Jesus anytime has. I guess you could stick a bunch of church wafers on a bagel. I never gave it that much thought before. The thought bothers me, actually.

Making Amends with Sister Mary Pop Culture:
First off, I do not believe in ghosts, but on the off chance I am wrong please do not haunt me. I'm mostly sorry for calling you a bitch. I also don't need your judgement for the things that go on in my bedroom. And in my shower, and in... just stay away from my home.

Anyway, you ascended to the rank of Mother Superior of the Resurrection convent and then fulfilled your destiny as a "Jesus Wife" (I hate this term but have heard it used with nuns) a few years ago. Now, if I hear the Jesus on a Bagel song, I think of you. I thought of you today.

Again, please don't haunt me. You probably think my mocking of Jesus and your bullshit nature of obviously watching television is sacrilege. I was good in your class. Remember that.

Go ahead, reader. Try to sing the Bagel Bites song and not think, When Jesus is on a bagel you can eat Jesus anytime. I dare you. It's catchy.
Bailey, cat, kitty
This is Bailey shunning you as you sing "The Jesus on a Bagel song."
Peace be with you,

Jean

Copyright © 2014 Lady J
All rights reserved

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Workout Motivation: 4 Ways to Stick to Your 2014 Goal

Hello! As February is fast ending (thank god, let's get to spring), if you are a gym-goer you may have noticed the once crowded cardio room and weight rack has thinned out. I don't say it happily, I wish people who have the zeal of getting in shape in January the best of luck... but something happens mid-February where the motivation somehow wanes. My gym is looking a little lonely these days.

So, in honor of sticking to our workout goals, I have a special treat for you. Emily is back with another post and this time she's sharing some tips on how to stick to your 2014 fitness goals, New Years resolutions in particular. I am sure a lot of you can relate to the troubles we all have on sticking to new goals, whether it be fitness related or not. 

So without further ado, take it away Emily:

The New Year is in full swing. And yet, every time I hit the gym, I see fewer people. Have they already given up on their fitness goals? Has winter broken them so soon? Luckily for me, this isn’t my problem. I still have plenty of cards to play when it comes to staying motivated. I set a challenge, get involved with others, make a detailed plan and then celebrate my achievements. That’s the best way to get to the end of the year in even better shape than I started.

Challenge Yourself
When I keep my goals to myself, it is often not enough to motivate me. But when the going gets tough, I need support. I can’t do it alone. Getting in an online exercise group is great. Even if I don’t work out with them every day, I know they’ve got my back. And we’ve got a way to chat about our milestones and setbacks in a way that doesn’t clog up others’ news feeds. This year, I joined Gym Pact, a website and app that allows me to bet on my progress and win money when I achieve my goals.

Tell Others
Possibly the worst thing for my self-esteem is when I’ve been working hard in a new program, but no one seems to notice. People live in their own little worlds, though. And if I don’t tell them that I’m embarking on a hard-core exercise regimen, they just don’t know. Getting it out there makes a huge difference. Some experts even say it’s vital. If I tell others about my plans, they can cheer me on and give me the occasional necessary kick in the butt if my momentum slows down. Also, it is a great way to hold myself accountable. Once I share my plan out loud, I feel more pressure to stick to it.

Have a Detailed Plan
I hear it all the time: “This year, I’m going to get fit!” It’s a wonderful goal, but at the outset it is terribly vague. I start with a long-term goal, such as running a half-marathon or participating in a triathlon. Then, I dig into the details. Each month will note expected progress. So let’s take the half-marathon, for example. This month, I’d say I wanted to run a few miles a day, 3-4 days a week. Then in March, I would increase the mileage. I would plan to run a 10K in April or May, depending on the weather, as an almost-halfway point. The more detailed my plans, the more reasonable they are to achieve, and the better I feel once I reach those short-term goals.

Celebrate Milestones
Even though I’ve been exercising for years now, I still get a little overwhelmed about trying new things. So I keep it simple, with a record on my smartphone. When I’m starting a new workout plan, I set a lot of little milestones. I aim to make them achievable within two-week intervals. That way, I don’t have to wait longer than two weeks to see a change. For example, right now I’m using a new at-home Beachbody workout, Focus T25. You’ve probably seen the infomercials for it. My goal is to stick to the schedule and complete the full program (its 5 days a week for 25 minutes a day), even if I need to go easy on certain days or with certain exercises. Each week that I make it through, I celebrate. I personally like to celebrate by buying a new pair of shoes, but figure out what will motivate you!

It’s too early to tell what 2014 has in store for me. But with my plans, my hard work and support from others, I bet it is going to be great.

Thank you, Emily! Alright, guys. I wish you the best of luck. After about a 3-week hiatus (shame on me) Capricorn and I are back to our gym routine and I will say I feel better, physically and mentally. So, as annoying as it may sound to say, regardless of the side-eye glances you may receive from non-believers, fitness really is a lifestyle, not a diet tool.

Author's Note: Jean Marie is not a client, affiliate, or supporter of Beachbody and its products. 

Work it,

Jean