Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Home

Martinsburg, West Virginia.  Located in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, mere minutes from either Maryland or Virginia.

My grandfather was born here in 1911.  Technically, he was born in Arden.  Which is a beautiful area outside Martinsburg proper, filled with orchards and farms. 

He would often recount stories from his youth.  Running down one lane dirt roads to the train tracks.  Hopping trains to ride them into the Martinsburg (can you imagine hopping a train into town???).  Beginning the long walk home before it got too dark, hoping you could hitch a ride somewhere along the way.

My grandfather died just days short of his 98th birthday.  Ninety-eight years of watching this town change from the few blocks of downtown Martinsburg surrounded by family farms, to the DC/Metro area suburb it is today.


When I think of all the changes that have occurred in my 34 years, I cannot even imagine the things he must have seen in his lifetime.

The dirt roads of his childhood have been replaced with six lane highways.  The farms with shopping centers and subdivisions.

As a real estate attorney, I've had a front row seat for our latest evolution.  Given our proximity to DC and the fact that property is much more affordable here than there, our population exploded in the last decade.

And commercial development struggled to keep up with residential development.

Yet, in spite of it all, our growing metropolis has somehow managed to maintain its small town feel.

And this is my favorite time of year here.

On Friday nights, the most popular venue is a high school football game.

On the weekends, the best view is from my back porch, looking up to the mountains bathed in autumn colors, the air redolent with the perfume of the apple orchards surrounding me.

In fact, we just celebrated our annual Apple Harvest Festival.  Where you can find all things apple related.


One of my favorite activities is a bike ride along the C&O Canal.  In fact, that's how I spent Sunday afternoon.  We biked from Shepherdstown (an area rich in history and personality) to Harpers Ferry (the scene of John Brown's epic raid).  To my right, the sun glinting off the Potomac River.  To the left, the mountains resplendent with the fiery shades of fall.






While in Harpers Ferry, we enjoyed a walk through town, watching historic re-enacters make apple cider.  Grabbing some ice cream from a local creamery.

At night, you can book a ghost tour... and given Harpers Ferry's history, there are plenty of ghost stories to keep you awake at night.

So... after all that buildup, here are some tips for visiting the Eastern Panhandle from a West by God Virginia girl born and raised...

Things to do:

I am all about the outdoor activities from spring to fall.  We have gorgeous trails to hike or bike or run, rivers to boat, kayak, raft and tube.  We also have zip lining.  In the winter, there are several ski resorts in the vicinity.

If you prefer another type of thrill seeking, we have legalized gambling at Charles Town Races & Slots.


If you're an urbanite, you can be in DC in 90 minutes (barring traffic delays.... which honestly, there are always traffic delays), where you can hit up the Smithsonian museums.

And I already mentioned Harpers Ferry.  You really should go.  From the Jefferson Rock to Maryland Heights, there are stunning views from pretty much any point in Harpers Ferry.  Take your camera. 

Things to Eat:

Eat at King's Pizza.  But they have several locations, so you need to hit up the King's in Martinsburg.  Seriously.  It looks like just a little pizza joint, but they have food that would make your Italian grandma proud.

dish in Charles Town and domestic in Shepherdstown.  Owned by the same people, these restaurants offer a deliciously creative menu with dishes crafted from only fresh, locally grown/raised ingredients.  If you're lucky they'll have creme brulee on the menu.

If you visit the area, you must visit the local farmers markets... let me repeat that you must visit the local farmers markets.  One of the best things about living here is the supply of fresh produce from spring through fall.  Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, apples.  For an added thrill, you can even pick your own at Orr's Farm Market.

So if you're wondering why you would want to visit West Virginia, the real question should be why wouldn't you???

This post is part of a collaborative project- the brain child of Kendra T. who lives in Chicago.  She created this exercise in order for bloggers to share more information about their hometowns.   To read about her tips for visiting Chicago, keep reading...



My Love For Home


Chicago is my hometown, and today I am here to endorse some of my favorite places in the city! Chicago is one of the nation's central hubs--its airports are some of the busiest in the country as many people change flights here on their way east or west. But the goal of this article is not to get you to pass through Chicago, but to get you to stop in for a visit! Here are a few tips from a native to help you appreciate this one-of-a-kind city.


1. Affordable Eating

While there are many upscale restaurants in Chicago that are absolutely delectable, these eateries are also very expensive. For family travelers (like myself), there are still plenty of upscale options in Chicago, though! One of my favorites is CafĂ© des Architectes. Located in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, this combination of French and local flavor has reasonably priced breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, with children’s menus as well.

2. Beauty

When people think of the world's great skylines, they often overlook Chicago. This is a shame, because in my opinion it's one of the most beautiful skylines you can find anywhere. Even if you prefer living in the country, the bright lights of the city’s skyscrapers will impress you when the sun goes down. If you ever visit Chicago, I highly recommend staying downtown to enjoy this city atmosphere. One of the best resources for finding good deals on hotels is gogobot, a social site that relies on user reviews and finds great deals throughout the city.
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3. Educational Fun

If you have kids, you should be sure to take them to the Field Museum on South Lake Shore Drive when you're in Chicago. I try to bring my kids here at least a couple of times per year, and we never run out of fun things to see and do. The museum does a wonderful job of combing education with entertainment. Besides the always-exciting traveling exhibits, it has something all kids love--dinosaur fossils! The Field Museum is always offering new exhibits and special events, so you can visit at any time and find something fresh and fun.


4. Culture

Anyone who is an art lover should not pass up the chance to visit the Chicago Cultural Center. This is near Millennium Park, and is part of the area in Chicago known as “The Loop”. This is one of the hubs of Chicago and one of its most popular attractions, and you can find lots of free public events almost any day of the year. It features two magnificent stained-glass domes. One of them, the Tiffany Dome, is the largest stained-glass dome in the world! The Chicago Cultural Center also features a variety of lectures and performances of all kinds.

There is so much to see and do in Chicago that I could only mention a small selection of possibilities. This is a city that you can visit over and over again and always find something new and exciting going on. It's also easy to get around Chicago, whether you are walking, driving or taking public transportation. Now start planning your visit!
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Friday, August 23, 2013

How to Build a Guinea PIg Cage in 8 Million Easy Steps

Wednesday:
 
1.  Google "how to build a guinea pig cage."

2.  Watch youtube videos on "how to build a guinea pig cage."  Personally, I found this one the most helpful.

3.  Google "wire shelving" and comparison shop because you're thrifty and want to get the best deal.

4.  Drive to Bed Bath & Beyond to see if they have shelving in stock, then google some more... because you're thrifty and want to get the best deal.

5.  Determine that Bed Bath & Beyond has the best deal because you have a 20% off coupon.

6.  Call Mom to see if she has an extra 20% off coupon because you only have one, and you will need two boxes of wire shelving.

7.  Send Mom to local Bed Bath & Beyond, where she uses $5 off coupon (which is a better discount than 20% off), while you drive to neighboring town to buy second pack because local store only has one.

8.  Stop at sign store by your house to see if they carry coroplast, which you know you will need for the floor of your guinea pig cage because that's what google told you to do.

9.  Rejoice when they do carry coroplast.  They will have to order to large piece you need, but they reassure you that it should arrive in less than two days, so you continue rejoicing.  Leave $40 deposit, which is the cost of the 40 inch x 54 inch piece of coroplast you ordered.

10.  Drive to Lowes to buy zip ties to connect shelving.

Friday:

10.  Stop by sign store to check on coroplast.  Leave disappointed when they tell you it did not come in.  They do, however, give you the smaller piece of coroplast you need for the second floor of your guinea pig cage.

11.  After work, go home and change into building attire.

12.  Lay out your components.



13.  Try to assemble coroplast into box for cage.  Reach two conclusions: 1) You can't bend coroplast.  2) You suck at math because you've ordered a piece of coroplast that is 4 inches short in both directions.  You needed 24 x 36.

14.  Build panels.






15. Try to increase stability of panels by using more zip ties.  Fail miserably.

16.  Finally realize you will have to attach extra shelving to panel joints to increase stability.

17.  Cut off all the zip ties you wasted to come arrive at this realization.

18.  Go to bed because you realize it's taken you two hours to build two panels...  So much for that idea you had that you could whip that cage together in about 30 minutes.

Saturday:

19.  Stop at Lowes for more zip ties.

20.  Build remaining panels. 

21.  Attach panels to form cage.

22.  Clean cuts and scratches from sharp zip tie edges.

23.  Admire your creation with smug satisfaction.

24.  Post pictures to Facebook so all your friends can also admire the Guinea Pig Mansion you have created.  Try not to crumble under the weight of their awe and envy of your engineering skills.


Sunday:

25.  Return to Lowes to purchase replacement coroplast which is $10 at Lowes... the sign shop charged you $15.00 for a smaller piece.

26.  Return home and dig out exacto knife to cut out edge of plastic to make it easier to bend.

27.  Sweat profusely while you try to contort coroplast into correct shape.

28.  Duct tape the plastic you cut.

29.  Proudly carry it downstairs to install in the top floor of your creation.

30.  Realize it doesn't fit.

31.  Remove tape.

32.  Re-cut, re-shape, and re-tape coroplast.

33.  Take it back downstairs to install.

34.  Realize you've now cut it too small.  But only by about an inch.

35.  Punch holes in coroplast, so you can attach it to cage with extra zip ties.

36.  Call it a win.

37.  Go to bed, looking forward to Monday, so you can finish your cage and introduce your piggies to their new house.

Monday:

38.  Stop by printing store, only to be told coroplast did not arrive again.  Are assured that it will arrive Tuesday.

Tuesday:

39.  Receive call from sign store explaining that supplier has failed to ship your coroplast AGAIN.  Are assured that it will arrive on Wednesday.

40.  Test limits of will power, refraining from reaching through the phone to strangle caller.

41.  Call sign store on the other side of town.  Are told that they have a 4 x 8 foot piece of coroplast in stock that will only cost you $15.

42.  Though your math skills are poor, even you know that 4 x 8 feet is much larger than the 40 x 54 inch piece the first sign shop was going to charge you FORTY DOLLARS for.

43.  Curse yourself for a fool for not calling to check prices before, but cut yourself some slack because you were trying to support a small business in your neighborhood... and apparently you're not as thrifty as you thought.  Plus, the other sign shop is by your Grandma's old house, and it makes you sad to be there knowing you can't stop in to see her.

44. Drive to other side of town to pick up coroplast, realizing on the way there that a 4 x 8 foot piece of coroplast will not fit in your car.

45.  Call your brother who does not answer...

46.  Call your father, who answers, but cannot help you because he's at work.  He suggests you call your mom.

47.  Call Mom.  Who, in an odd twist of fate, is driving right by you at just that second.

48.  Load up coroplast.

49.  Meet Mom at house later to unload coroplast and cut it into bottom of cage.  Because you are going to finish this cage NOW dammit.

50.  Cut it right the first time around.

51.  Fill bottom with bedding.

52.  Catch guinea pigs and release them into new house.

53.  Enjoy watching them enjoy their new (bigger and better) digs.



54.  Determine to NEVER EVER again give the sign shop by your house your business.

34 wire panels, over 200 zip ties, minimal blood shed.  Worth it.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I'm back... and I brought guests

Hey.

Guess who.

You probably thought I fell off the face of the earth. 

And I'll understand if you want to be all passive aggressive and not read my posts because I've treated you so badly these last few several months. 

But I've had a lot going on.  A lot.

Exciting stuff.  A lot of not so exciting stuff.  Some sad stuff.  Adventures.  Big adventures.

And a couple of new additions to the family:





Meet Fred (calico) and George.  I've been talking about getting a guinea pig for a while.  We had a lot of guinea pigs when I was a kid.

Which is what happens when the boy guinea pig escapes his cage and cuddles up to the girl guinea pig...

And I thought Winston would like a guinea pig.

Correction:  I knew Winston would love a a guinea pig (in a hopefully non-"get in my belly" kind of way).

And then the week before my birthday, I got a flier from PetSmart in the mail....

And they were going to have a sale on guinea pigs the day after my birthday!!

It was a sign.

But our local PetSmart did not have any calico guinea pigs.  And I really wanted a calico piggie. 

So I called the PetSmart in the town just north of me, and they had lots of calico piggies!  So that Saturday, I loaded Winston in the car, and we headed to PetSmart.

I will admit, I had my doubts as to how I'd be able to handle looking at piggies and keeping a rein on Winston at the same time.  I thought he'd go nuts over them.  But it turns out, he was too busy catering to his admiring fans to even wonder what I was doing.

As I stood there watching the piggies huddled together in groups, I started to worry that one piggie would be lonely.  Even with Winston to "keep him company."

So I asked the guinea pig lady if they were social animals who prefer to live in packs. 

And not so shockingly, they do.  She recommended getting at least two.

Sold. 

Then, of course, I needed all the accoutrements. 

I had purchased a cage with water bottle and food dish, bedding, etc.  But they needed food and hay and snacks.

She put my piggies in a box, and I fretted the entire way home over their confinement, wishing I had had the foresight to set up their cage before I left.

When we got home, I set up their cage and got them settled...

Then I immediately pulled them out to "play" and introduce them to Winston.

"Play" is in quotation marks because they were too terrified to do anything more than sit, petrified, in my hands.

They didn't seem to be too bothered by Winston though.  And he, of course, loved them.




Pictures were taken and sent.  Piggies were settled in their cage to adjust to their new home.

Then the anxiety set in.

How long would it take them to adjust?  What foods can I feed them?  How much should I feed them?  Am I feeding them too much?  What if I don't feed them enough?

OMG I can't take the pressure!

I googled... and googled... and googled.

My food questions were answered. 

For the most part.  I still wonder if I'm feeding them too much, but I now know what to feed them and how often they can have it.

But then a new worry started.

The cage I bought is barely big enough for one guinea pig... and I have two.

So new searches were done.  I was slightly amazed at how much information is available for guinea pigs.  When we had them as kids, they weren't as popular as gerbils or hamsters, so I was surprised to see the all the guinea pig forums.

And they all agree on the minimum cage size for guinea pigs.

Which I'm not even close to.

So then I had a new worry to obsess over.

And obsess I did. 

Every time I saw them in their too small cage, my anxiety level would rise.

I googled cages on line, and it was clear a store bought cage would not provide the required space.  There are a few sites that sell cages made out of coroplast (it's the stuff used to make those polotical signs you see around election time) and wire shelving.  They're called C&C cages.

And obviously, that's what I needed. 

Except they cost a fortune.  And on top of that, the shipping is around $30+.  AND they ship it to you in pieces, so you have to put it together yourself.

Why would I spend so much money on a cage that I have to build???  I can just buy the components and build it myself, and it would be much cheaper.

So a new search began.  A search to find the best deal on the supplies I would need to build this cage.

And after that decision was made, then I had to find space in my house for this guinea pig mansion.

Turns out the only surface in my house big enough for this creation is the dining room table... and no.  Just no.

Which lead to more brainstorming.  So I texted Dad about building a table for the guinea pig cage.

He's looking into that one as I type this. 

And hopefully, I'll have all the supplies I need to build the cage itself by the weekend.  I currently have one set of the wire shelves I need.  Mom bought the last set at Bed Bath & Beyond last night. 

When I called to see if she'd found them, she asked me what I was planning on doing with them.

Me:  I'm building a cage for the piggies.
Mom:  You're building a guinea pig cage...
Me:  Yes.  I can do it.  I watched a youtube video.
Mom:  Ooo-kay.

I can do this.  I can...



Monday, June 10, 2013

Conversations to never have with your child

On Friday, my mom called me because she was on her way to Costco, and she wanted to know if I needed anything.

In retrospect, I need some Benadryl, but at the time, I couldn't think of anything. 

Mom:  Your father wants me to go the pharmacy while I'm there and ask how much Viagra costs.

What the ......

No.  NO.  Holy Mother of GAWD.  

Stop.  Just ... STOP.

OMG make it go AWAY.

I need a time machine.  I must go back and erase this conversation.  SOMEONE GET ME A TIME MACHINE.

Oblivious to my horror induced muteness, she continued on...

Mom:  He's having coffee with Bob, and Bob says he pays $25 a pill at his pharmacy, and he wants to know if it's any cheaper at Costco.

Okay.  Alright.  So it's not as bad as I initially thought.

But I still don't need to know these things about Bob.  As in, EVER.

And just in case you're wondering, Viagra is $23.65 a pill for members and $26 a pill for non-members.

Friday, May 31, 2013

I See You

Like the rest of the population, I live for Fridays.  I love knowing that I have two days where I can lock away all the work bullshit in a box.

But today, my Friday afternoon glee is missing.  Crushed by the weight of my heavy heart. 

Instead of the "Happy Friday" celebratory posts that usually fill my Facebook page, today I have been inundated with news stories about vicious acts of animal cruelty.

Tortures.  Mutilations.

In the town just south of mine, two puppies were found, separately.  Both had been viciously slashed.  One puppy, estimated to be only 5-6 months old, was discovered when he walked up to a father and son. 

He had been cut so deeply his organs had been damaged.  And though he must have thought he was finally being saved, his injuries were so severe, he was euthanized. 

A puppy.

It is unfathomable to me.

I cannot understand why anyone would purposefully injure an animal.  And obviously enjoy doing so. 

About a month ago, a man in southern West Virginia was found guilty of numerous counts of animal cruelty.  He tortured countless animals.  Not just killed them.  Tortured them.  In ways I will not describe to you.  Because just thinking about it makes me vomit. 

Almost a year ago, now, I was introduced to Towpath  A puppy found on the C&O Canal.  Horribly injured.  The victim of obvious, but unknown, cruelty.  He was found by good people.  People who refused to give up on him.  And now he's a happy, wiggly puppy.

But his people still wonder what happened to him.

Someone knows what happened.

Someone knows what happened to those puppies who were cut.

Someone knew that guy was torturing animals.

But no one said anything. 

People who torture and abuse animals do it because they enjoy it.  It makes them feel powerful.

And they don't always do it in secret.  Because having someone else know what they do makes them feel even more powerful.

But still no one says anything.

I am often assaulted by my thoughts of all the animals who are being tortured and abused at any given time.  Suffering in ways I don't even want to imagine.

Sometimes I cry myself to sleep.

The only small comfort I have is to make a difference when I can.  If I see you abusing an animal, I will not be silent.  If I see you mistreating an animal, I will not be silent.  I will be vocal, and I will be loud.  Until you are stopped.

I understand that people stay silent for many reasons.  Some just don't care.  "It's just an animal," they think.

Some are afraid.  Afraid of the perpetrator.

And I get it.  I do.

But as afraid as I may be of you, I am more afraid of what you will do to even more animals if I don't do something.

So I'm watching you. 

I see you.

And I will not be silent.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Move over Martha Stewart

Let me preface this post by saying this is not a craft blog.

Obviously.

But it is my blog.  So it's a post whatever I want blog.

And the other day, I got this wild hair to make a wreath for my front door.

I have a storm door in the front, and my house faces east.  So basically, my front door gets the full brunt of the sun all morning.  And it gets mighty hot.

Which means any wreaths either end up looking like a sad, wilted mess as the plastic pieces melt and droop, or they start molting as whatever glue is holding them together liquifies and pieces start falling off like it's suffering from some kind of weird wreath leprosy. 

So I really wanted a non-leper wreath for my front door.  Like one of those big, fluffy ribbon wreaths.

I can do this.  Pinterest can teach me how to do it.

Except Pinterest was less than helpful on this one.  A search of ribbon wreaths got me a lot of pins for pre-made wreaths that you can buy (no thanks), those wreaths where you tie strips of ribbon around a wreath form (wtf... ain't nobody got time for that), and some wreaths that involved pages of instructions, more components than I can count on both hands, and sewing (see the aforementioned "ain't nobody got time for that" + throw in a little "Sewing?? I don't know how to sew.").

So I moved on to Google.  Who was infinitely more helpful and provided a link to a tutorial on making a ribbon wreath.  Which I pinned for future reference.  Although really after reading through it, I was good to go.  But obviously, there's a need for good ribbon wreath tutorials on Pinterest.


But man, it sounded so easy.  Wire hanger?  Check.  I have a closer full of empty hangers.  No lie.  I should probably start returning them to the dry cleaners for re-use, but I just collect them in the closet in the spare room.

I had tape.  I had pliers.  All I needed was the ribbon.  So Saturday I made a Hobby Lobby run.

And wouldn't you know, all their ribbon was half off! ... I may have gotten a little out of control. 

But hello!  It was on sale!

Unlike the tutorial though, I decided I didn't want to tape my ribbon sections to the hanger.  Because really, that's obnoxious.  And takes a lot of tape.  And I need to save that stuff up for wrapping Christmas gifts and stuff.  You know?

So while I was in Hobby Lobby, I bought some floral wire, too.

When I arrived home, I grabbed my wire hanger, set out my supplies and set to work.

Step 1: Form hanger into a circle.  Easy peasy.  Well, not as easy as you'd think.  It takes some molding to get it into a (reasonably) perfect circle.  Now in the tutorial, she cut off the actual hanger part of the hanger.  But really, why would you do that??? You're going to hang the wreath.  Doesn't it make sense to leave it on?  So I did. 





Step 2:  Go ahead and cut several pieces of floral wire.  The length depends on the thickness of your ribbon.  I layered three pretty thick ribbons, so I needed some long pieces of floral wire.  About 5 inches.  I made another wreath with much thinner ribbon, and I only needed about 3 inches.

Step 3:  I used three different sizes of ribbon with varying widths, and I layered them with the widest at the back and the thinnest in front.  Scrunch together the end of your ribbon and secure it with a piece of floral wire right under the hook on your hanger, twisting the wire tightly together in the back.

Step 4:  Measure out several inches of your ribbons.  The length of your ribbon sections determines how "poufy" your wreath will be.  I used approximately 7" sections (bear in mind that you will need a lot of ribbon to make this wreath- my spools were each 15 yards).  When you have the length you want, scrunch the ribbon together, secure it to the hanger with a piece of wire, and push it over to toward the beginning of your wreath to make it pouf out.



Step 5:  Repeat step 4 until you reach the end of your hanger.  Secure end of ribbon to hanger with floral wire.  If you would like, you can wrap the hook of your hanger with the ends of the ribbon to hide it.  Or your ribbon may be poufy enough to hide it regardless.

Now I thought I was done at this point.  But it turns out that no matter how tightly you twist that floral wire, it's going to slide around on your hanger.  I thought about possible solutions for a few minutes, and the easiest was definitely my hot glue gun.

But wait!  You're saying.  You wanted a non-glued wreath!

Yes.  You are correct.  But it was late.  And that was the best idea I had at the time.  But it's okay because I wasn't gluing pieces to the wreath that would fall off when the glue softens.  I just needed something to hold my wire where I wanted it.

So...

Step 6:  Arrange your wreath the way you want it to look in the front.  Carefully flip it over so the back side is face up on a table.  Place a small dot of glue over the floral wire so it adheres to the hanger.  (Tip:  Don't touch hot glue.  It'll be dry when it's dry.  It doesn't care if you're impatient and will burn the freaking hell out of your hand.)


Step 7: Post picture to Facebook to impress all your friends.



Monday, May 20, 2013

Shame, shame. I know your name.

I see a lot of public shaming on social media.

A LOT.

Fat shaming (Put down the sandwich!), skinny shaming (Eat a damn sandwich!), mom shaming (I cannot believe she fed her son processed fruit snacks!), non-mom shaming (She doesn't want kids? What is wrong with her? Being a mom is the most fulfilling experience a woman can have.), slut shaming (OMG Becky.  Look at her butt...).

If you don't know where that last line is from, we are not friends.

It's not like this is a new phenomenon.  I mean, as long as there have been people, we have been devising ways to tear others down, so we can feel better about ourselves.

But social media takes this to a whole new level.

Now, I'm not going to tackle the middle school bullying mentality of social media in this blog post.

That's a subject for an entire dissertation.

Plus, it's already been done.  And by better people than I.

No.  This blog post is just to focus on a new shaming trend I'm seeing in social media:

Exercise shaming.

What?

No, seriously.  It's a real thing.

I hate it when I see people doing bicep curls at the gym??  Curls are pointless.  They should be doing pull ups.

Ugh.  People need to get off the treadmills and get into the weight room.  Cardio doesn't help you lose weight.  You need weight training.

I see people in the gym spending hours on the treadmill.  They need to be doing high intensity intervals to see any real difference.

People need to get off the treadmills and run outside.  Treadmills = deadmills.  

Stop.  It.

Now.

You're getting on my f***ing nerves.

And maybe you should start worrying more about your own workout and less about everyone else's.

You are not a doctor.  You are not a sports therapist.  You are not a personal trainer.

Or maybe you are. 

But those people you're watching and judging at the gym?  You don't know them.  You don't know their fitness level.  You don't know what their health allows them to do.  You don't know their fitness goals.

You are the reason people are afraid or embarrassed to join a gym.  In the past, when people have told me they don't want to join a gym because they're so out of shape, and they don't want people judging them, I've brushed off their concerns.

No one's judging you.  People are at the gym to focus on themselves.  No one's paying any attention to you.

Now I know that's a lie. 

People are paying attention.  They are judging.

So stop it, people.

Worry about yourself.  Or if you are so worried about what other people are doing at the gym, help them.  Stop with the passive aggressive Facebook posts and tweets and whatever else the kids are doing these days.

Invite someone to workout with you.  Encourage someone to try a new class with you.  Suggest a trail run.  Or create a fun circuit and invite people to join you.

And just maybe you should break our of your comfort zone and try something new. 

There are a million ways to help someone improve on their workout and break them out of their routine.

But updating your status with some whiny post they're never going to see anyway isn't one of them.

A/N:  I am not Mother Teresa.  Or Jesus.  I am not so pure of heart that I don't have mean, nasty thoughts.  I like to think, most of the time, I catch it early and tell myself to stop being an asshole.  But if you do catch me being judgmental bitch, please say, "Hey, Rachel.  Stop being a judgmental bitch."

And anyone who has ever worked out with me is reading this and thinking, "OMG, she is such a judgmental bitch!  She gave me hell during that workout!"  To that I say, I wasn't being a judgmental bitch.  But if you ask me to workout with you, I'm going to push you to do your best.  Just like working out with you pushes me to do my best.