Jane Protip – I see nipple.

Hey, clothing designers. Not every woman likes to wear seven shirts at a time. And we shouldn’t have to buy them. Try making tops that aren’t completely see-through. I should be able to wear one shirt at a time and not get arrested. Everyone hates you.

Jane Protips – Moving to the blog stream!

So I normally keep my Jane Protips in a list to your right. But I’m going to start posting them as blog posts. Why? So you will see them, of course!

Here are all current Protips, with a couple brand new ones at the top! Enjoy. And remember, everyone hates you.

Jane Protips – Uplifting Life Lessons to Live By

9/28/12

Jane Protip: Guys, we know it’s hard out there. Look at you – you’re funny, smart, amazing looking, make literally tens of dollars a day, and yet it’s still hard to find a woman. But when you’re out at the bar, plopping your ass down at a table full of ladies and muttering a pathetic “hey” will not get you laid. It won’t even get you a quick grope in the bar bathroom. If you’re still intent on trying this miserable method, be prepared for the consequences and don’t push your luck. My friend Amber’s been there. “Even though you give him numerous awkward looks, he just doesn’t leave,” she says. Guys, just leave. Everyone hates you.

Jane Protip: Look, we know Loop 288 in Denton has a lot to offer – Target, Walmart, questionable sushi places. But for the love of all that’s holy, grow some goddamn driving balls before venturing out there. See that never-ending stream of cars coming the opposite way while you sit stagnant, your left blinker counting down the seconds of my fleeting life as I sit behind you? Yah, it’s not going anywhere. Find an opening and go. You have car insurance, right? Use it! Everyone hates you.

9/18/12

Jane Protip: Hey, gals. If you wanna gab about your boyfriends and all the reasons you totally hate them but could never, ever leave them, take that shit to the mall. This is a university computer lab. I’m here to study, not listen to 90210 conversations. Everyone hates you.

2/20/12

Jane Protip: Hey, ladies. The women’s restrooms at UNT (or any public place) aren’t your personal salons. Quit spraying half a can of Aqua Net in the 10′ by 10′ place I go to pee, blow my nose, and reflect on what’s become of my life. It smells like a middle school bathroom circa 1994, and my lungs are collapsing. Everyone hates you.

1/31/12

Jane Protip: If you’re in an enclosed, public space, tuna probably isn’t the best hot meal to bust out for dinner. You stink, and now everything around you stinks. Everyone hates you.

1/7/12

Jane Protip: Unless you work security or hauling equipment, etc., there’s no need to use your phone as a walky talky. The beeping and saying “over” does not make you important. Everyone hates you.

12/15/11

Jane Protip: If you are at the library yelling, laughing, and generally acting like you are “at da club,” everyone hates you.

11/29/11

Jane Protip: If you randomly stop in the middle of a walkway to chat, everyone hates you.

Personal Trainer

Looking at my posts here, it’s obvious I’m struggling with the extra weight I’ve put on. In the last five years, I gained 25% of my body weight. That’s…not good. Sitting is uncomfortable. Laying down is uncomfortable. Breathing is uncomfortable (and when breathing is uncomfortable, that’s a scary thing). I’ve noticed that whenever I sit down, I cup the fat roll on my stomach with my left arm. Cup it. Like a baby.

So I have decided that as soon as my student fees kick in again, which give me access to UNT’s rec center, I’m going to plant my fat roll baby in that gym and work this weight off. But I’ll need a trainer. Someone to answer to. If left to my own devices, I’m worthless. I will give up as soon as I get tired. There is no way the sperm that made me was the fastest. It must have won on a technicality.

So now the question is, do I want a Bob or a Jillian? If that doesn’t make any sense to you, those are the names of personal trainers from the show The Biggest Loser. Both give you a great workout, both beat you down, but in different ways. Bob is a bit more patient, more sympathetic to your almost guaranteed sudden death by elliptical. Jillian, on the other hand, could give a shit that you’re crying blood. Put on your big-girl panties and deal with it, she might say.

So who do I choose? Which way do I go? It’s truly Tough Love vs. Love? Tough! And as I sit here, sipping a Coke and smacking on salt water taffy, I guess anything would be an improvement.

When squeezing a sponge causes wincing, perhaps it’s time to admit you have a problem.

Everyone knows that having family members with useful careers (read: something you can take advantage of) is pretty much hitting the jackpot. Personally, I aim to marry a plastic surgeon or a massage therapist. I’ll either have everything lifted up to my eyeballs and tacked into place, or I’ll just have it all rubbed long enough so I’ll be too relaxed to care how droopy it is.

So a couple of years ago, I noticed something about my wrists. They were popping and crackling like that crappy kids’ cereal (Really, can that stuff stay crunchy for more than .5 seconds?), and sharp pains appeared whenever they carried any weight. I shrugged it off as Carpal Tunnel and just assumed I would get by. I was in my 20s for crying out loud!

Yah, well…this shit hurts. And when squeezing the water out of a sponge causes wincing, it’s really time to get a professional opinion. So I hit up my Aunt Jenny, who is a nurse (score!). This is the same aunt who, when I cut my cheek open as a toddler, played with me all day once I got home and painted my face with pretty makeup colors to distract me from the stitches. What a sweet person. No wonder she went into nursing.

She quickly confirmed my suspicions – Carpal Tunnel. And then she added this uplifting after-thought:

“You can try the wrist support braces, they do help. But usually everyone eventually gets surgery, which is a sure fix. :)”

What the hell, Aunt Jenny? You think that little happy face makes it all okay? Surgery?! For once, I am NOT happy to be right.

When did my hobby habit obsession with all things digital become so overwhelming that I now need surgery? Breaking down my typical day, there’s basic typing on a computer for several hours. Add to that texting and all smart phone-related activities, plus basic web surfing with a trackpad. For several more hours. Okay, that’s my entire waking life. And I mean ENTIRE. I use my iPhone in the shower. I need help. I’m addicted.

But wait, didn’t Aunt Jenny say that surgery is a “sure fix?” Does that mean after surgery I can indulge my internet obsession for as long as I please, throwing all cares to the wind (not that I’m every outside long enough to feel it)? Now I know what the happy face means!

Thanks, Aunt Jenny. 🙂

Afterword:

I have popped my wrists approximately five times during the writing of this post.

Dear Body, I am sorry. Forget I said anything.

A few months ago, I started mulling over the idea of getting a new laptop. Nothing was set in stone, but the idea was circling my brain. About a month ago, I officially decided that this summer, I will indeed purchase a new computer. I told my parents. I mentioned it at work. I posted about it on Facebook (using the very computer I’m soon ditching). None of this went by my current computer. It is not happy. And to show how unhappy it is, it’s started learning new “tricks.”

For instance, a couple of weeks ago, the battery decided it had had enough with the whole charging thing. It simply decided to live as the trophy wife of my laptop, never working another day in its life. And soon the charging cable was jealous. Not as selfish as the battery, it only quits half the time. How generous.

I’m beginning to regret ever uttering a word about wanting to replace my old, tired laptop. And the same can be said for my old, tired body.

This month, I finally hit the milestone every woman approaches with just a touch of trepidation and intense flop sweats – I hit 30. And ever since then, I’ve made joke after joke about how tired I am, how creaky my bones are, how wide I look in pictures (those are the “laugh to keep from crying” jokes). And my body has heard all of it. And it is not amused.

So in keeping with my sense of sarcasm and dry wit, my body is showing me just how crappy things can really be with its own set of new tricks. In the past few weeks, I have had:

  • A sore throat so painful and swollen that I couldn’t swallow or talk for three days, accompanied by body aches and fever – (I was forced to carry around a notepad and pen and eat Jell-O. I hate Jell-O. Food shouldn’t wiggle.)
  • Popped ears featuring the soothing sounds of an underwater current and what I imagine a dog whistle sounds like
  • Intense nausea making me reconsider ever getting pregnant for fear of morning sickness – (This is my present hell.)

Ok, Body. I get it, and I’m sorry. Please forget I ever complained.

Is that normal?

Lately, I’ve been asking myself the same question time and time again – Is that normal? 

With each small movement, with each noise or pain my almost-30 body makes, I wonder if what I’m experiencing is normal or if my sloth-like existence has brought on an early decline into arthritis, torn ligaments and the inability to climb stairs.

I lift a grocery bag and hear my wrist pop. Huh…that kinda hurt. Is that normal? I don my 10-pound backpack, and my shoulder cries out in pain. I distinctly heard crunching. Did anyone else hear that? Is that normal? I turn my head while driving to check nearby lanes and hear Pop! Pop! Pop! Is that normal? Is any of it?

I wish I had great stories to accompany my ailments. Yah, when I ran that 5K last year, my knees just finally gave out. I mean, they can only stand so much physical strain, and between the 5K and my daily hikes, it was only a matter of time. But I don’t.

I wake up with pain. I literally accrue pain while I’m sleeping. Some time during my arduous horizontal indecision between the left side and right side of a queen-sized mattress, my body decides it’s all too much.  I wasn’t made for such acrobatics! I get out of bed, and my first sensation is knee pain, followed by limping. Is THAT normal? Surely that’s not normal.

I know I need to move more. I know I need to exercise. But I have certain reservations about that, and for good reasons. But I guess I need to put on my big-girl panties and deal with it, lest those panties become Depends too soon. And let me tell you, that is NOT a good look for a single gal!

Tracy Chapman & Medical Oddities

Tracy Chapman’s self-titled, debut album should come with a warning label.

Do Not Listen To While Operating Heavy Machinery

I had no damn business playing that album as I drove home from Dallas last night. I was already in quite an introspective state of mind, and her buttery voice and haunting lyrics just punched me in the gut. Tears did indeed “well up in [my] eyes,” and I found myself examining every decision I’ve ever made, every opportunity I may have passed up. Let’s just say I was driving a several-thousand-pound car at 70 MPH and was kind of a wreck.

Tracy isn’t entirely to blame, however. She was only the bitter icing on a somewhat moldy cake.

I was in Dallas for my narrative writing class, and as we went around the room, sharing our ideas for our deadline narrative stories, I realized that once again I didn’t have a subject I felt passionate about. While others’ eyes lit up as they spoke, as they gestured wildly with their hands, I sat quietly, unsure of what to say. What was there to say?

After a long class (three hours) during which I spoke very little (for me) followed by a long dinner with a few fellow classmates, my amazingly talented professor George Getschow, and the distinguished writer Lee Hancock, I realized something about myself – I have trouble finding interest in things outside of myself and my own small world. Sounds a little ego-centric, doesn’t it? I know…but I can’t help it! I want so much to care about the stories of the homeless man on the street corner, the first-generation American restaurant owner in the next county, or the all-women’s knitting group, but the drive just isn’t there.

So I started to think, really think, about what I’m interested in. And I came up with three total things: atheism, animal rescue, and medical oddities. Hmm. If I could just find an atheist poodle with a bum leg. But alas…

I’ve tried writing a profile centering on atheism (it went…okay), and I feel like covering animal rescue (and the subsequent euthanasia in shelters that comes with it) could very easily lead to me entering a deep depression (which, hey, might help my writing). But medical oddities…that could be something! I’m fascinated with medical shows on TV. You know that ones I mean – The Woman With Giant Legs or Two-Ton Man. That kinda shit. Is there someone like that in North Texas that I could write about?

So here is my request – if any of you know someone with, say, an extra limb or someone who eats their eyebrow hairs or can only walk backward – please, send them my way!

Flickering, 20-watt Lightbulb Moment

I had a moment of realization a couple of weeks ago. I was on a date, (a first date – is there any other kind?), and as I sat across from lucky suitor #143, I realized that I wanted nothing more than to crawl under the table and take a nap. And it wasn’t for my date being boring or off-putting or socially insecure (yes, that last one has happened to me before). I was just truly exhausted. Sure the floor was covered with remnants of some child’s hatred of tortilla chips (anger issues?) and the grout between the tiles was a fancy shade of white restaurants use known as dirt-brown. But I was tempted, nonetheless. And at that moment, I realized – I probably shouldn’t be subjecting innocent men to a date with a certified zombie. I probably shouldn’t be dating right now.

When did I lose my ability to exist outside of the roles of student and teaching assistant? When did my conversational skills become limited to nut graphs (look that up – it’s not what you think it is, perverts), datelines and merits of the serial comma? When did I replace eight hours of sleep with 16 ounces of coffee (flavored creamer and whipped cream, please!)?

To figure this out, I reached deep within the recesses of my mind to where every math skill I’d ever learned lays dormant and forgotten. How long after starting school did this metamorphosis occur? I took all sorts of variables into account: my age, my diet, the time of year, the moon’s pull on the tides…things like that. And with the precision one can only expect from an English major, I calculated that my slow spiral into the depths of journalism-brain began exactly .25 seconds after being accepted into grad school.

At that critical moment, everything suddenly became about journalism. Every wonder (worry), every excitement (worry), every apprehension (apprehension and worry). There just simply wasn’t any space to think about much else, and there still isn’t.

I sometimes wonder how long the rebuilding process will be. How soon after this semester ends will I get my brain back? Will I suddenly snap out of this fog, confused and disoriented, rapidly blinking my eyes against the bright light? Or is it a gradual process of renewal, like a beautiful spring or a major skin graft?

Perhaps the real question is – Do I really want to snap out of it? Is this fog really that much worse than the dating fog? While I once worried about whether or not I’d hit it off with my date, if he’d find me attractive, if  he’d talk at all (yes, it’s a problem sometimes), now I worry about classes and students and writing. I worry about things that might actually benefit me as a person and not just my marital status. And isn’t that what we should all aim for?

Disclaimer: To any single, attractive men reading this, please ignore the above. Thanks.

Mayborn vs. Jane – Round 1

Take a standard two-pack of saltine crackers. You know, the kind that come with soup at restaurants (is anyone really eating the crackers?). Now crush them into small shards resembling the sand of a low-rate beach. Do you have your sand? Now…pour it into your eyes and rub it in. That will give you a taste of how I’ve felt lately.

I started graduate school this past August. And with school, I started my job as a Teaching Assistant. The Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism and I are in a fight, and the Mayborn is winning. I have bags under my bloodshot eyes (larger than normal), my hair is always tied back in a wet knot via Lilith from Frasier, and whatever small social life I once had is gone.

The GAB (the building in which I work and attend classes) is my new home now. Nevermind the house my mail comes to, that I pay taxes on, at which I keep food – I live on campus now! While my new home leaves a bit to be desired in the interior decorating department, there are some perks. I get five bathrooms (what woman wouldn’t love that?), a snack and soda machine, free filtered water and lovely roommates with which to share it all. I hope I don’t get too spoiled!

So if you’re ever in Denton, come by the GAB and see me. Who knows, I may even put out some crackers for you.

I do not possess Endorphins.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but working out has never been fun or relaxing for me. I don’t ever take a leisurely jog through the park or experience a cathartic release of stress on a Stairmaster. Oh no. I agonize through an excruciating torture test of pathetic coordination, erratic breathing, and legs that shake between steps. My face looks like a wet, soggy tomato, and I sound like I have chronic asthma with each breath. It’s not a pretty sight.

I guess this is no surprise, but I was never a very active child. While most children itched to run and play outside, I much preferred the cool and quiet of my room, tucked away in my bed with a book. I could never understand what exactly they were doing out there. Were they just running around in circles, taking breaks only to wrestle one another in the dirty grass? It just didn’t make sense. This doesn’t mean I never went outside, but when I did, it was a more structured event. I would plan exactly what I would do, which was usually: garden, ride my bike up and down the street while I sang songs, or climb the occasional tree. But I was only outside for a couple hours, and never when it was very hot outside. God forbid I get sweaty.

I remember being about 8 years old and getting in trouble for something minor (which was rare – I was pretty well behaved). My step-brother was always sent to his room when he got in trouble, so I figured, This will be great! I’ll be sent to my room, and I can just read for hours. Except my mom knew me all too well. I wasn’t sent to my room. I was sent outside. I was sent outside to play for my punishment. Seeing this in print makes me realize how much of a dork I really was.

I participated in sports for several years in junior high and high school against my better judgement and to the dismay of my teammates. Coaches forced me into a strict workout regimen which I followed for fear of failing gym, which would have been completely mortifying (seriously, who fails gym?). And even then, after months and months of the same routine, I hated every minute of each gym period, every second of each after-school workout.

My non-athleticism was never a big problem for me in my younger years. However, now that I’m older and I’ve gained a few pounds here and there, I find that working out is slowly becoming a need rather than a want. I don’t have much choice in the matter, and that terrifies me.

I’ve tried working out sporadically, only to lose interest after a couple of times. It’s hard to keep enthusiastic about something at which you are god-awful. Every time I complain about how much I loathe exercise, everyone always tells me that I just have to keep it up and, eventually, the Endorphins will kick in. Just wait for those Endorphins!, Endorphins will make you crave exercise!, Once you get those Endorphins going, woowee!, and so on. These magical Endorphins will suddenly appear and turn me into a regular Jane Fonda. (Not the Academy Award-winning, political activist Fonda of the 70s, but the spandex-clad, pastel-loving Fonda of the 80s.) Except, they never have. And I fear they never will.