Luke has been really affectionate since Una died; happy to receive petting from anyone, including clumsy pats from KFP. We're trying to teach KFP to be gentle, in part by enforcing the "no grabbing" rule we also must enforce for our own faces. KFP loves to pat our faces and touch our noses and mouths. The problem is when he digs his fingers in, with that Kung Fu action grip and razor-sharp baby fingernails.
This morning, though, he grabbed my nose loosely, so I allowed it, lightly grabbing his nose, as well. I talked to him about noses, and he smiled his toothless baby grin.
Now that I'm back into the habit of working out at the YMCA, I am people watching again.
Lately, I've been paying a lot of attention to the woman I formerly dubbed Spandex Lady. She has since exchanged that garb for workout pants and T-shirts, always color coordinated, but still has the poodle perm that I suspect adds about ten years to her actual age.
Poodle Perm draws attention to herself in the Wellness Center by holding long, loud conversations with her fellow YMCA members, primarily with the older men. For this reason, the conversations often revolve around sports, about which she is passionate. She punctuates her statements with loud, emphasized words: "They really BLEW it." This, of course, irritates me, because it interrupts my concentration when I'm doing reps on a Nautilus-type machine. Every time she does it, I involuntarily jump, nearly letting the weights slam down.
I believe she is singlehandedly to blame for a sign that now hangs on the ab crunch machine, telling members they should restrict their workouts on the machine to three sets of 10 with a 30-second rest in between. Poodle Perm has a habit of camping out on machines, and the Abdominizer (as I believe it's called) was her favorite. This might not be so irritating except that she spends perhaps seven times as much time resting as she does working out.
Considering that I took about five months off from lifting -- during my third trimester and my initial postpartum recovery period -- I have returned to almost my pre-pregnancy levels. This means that, typically, I'm stronger than most women on the upper body machines and equal to some of the men on the lower body. I noticed the other day, though, that Poodle Perm had the weight on the bench press machine set higher than I set it. Considering that, despite her regular workouts, she's a slight woman, I just had to watch her.
Sure enough, her "set" consisted of pushing and groaning, with great effort, to lift the weight once, then letting it slam down. She sat up, panting, for a 3-minute "rest period." I wish I was kidding.
Now that I'm taking the Zumba class I see her in another context, since she also takes the class. She stands at the back, right in front of the open doorway (an interesting way of "hiding" from the class and yet being on stage for whoever walks down the hallway -- the older men, perhaps?). She has a lot of difficulty keeping up, which is not that unusual. The class has a range of participants, from a former professional dancer to some large, older women who do their best. In her case, though, her movements are so small and jerky it reminds me of a baby thrashing about in sleep.
When she doesn't like the instructor's moves, she does her own. Again, not that unusual, except that her movements are usually very different from what's going on: such as lying down on the floor and working on her legs while the rest of us are doing upper body work.
The instructor likes to do something called "Salsa Battle" where we divide the room into half and take turns doing moves across the floor to the other side, whooping it up, and then mock slapping them in the face or turning around and hitting the floor in front of them. Poodle Perm refuses to participate, staying instead in front of the open door, awkwardly shuffling from side to side.
I'm beginning to think that if I ever audition for an improv troupe again, she'll have to be one of my characters.
Confidence isn't everything.