Hello again, its been a while.
I apologize for not posting lately. It has been a fairly busy summer and a lot has happened. Instead of recounting it all suffice it to say that all is well. There may have been a few days where my thankfulness was not as apparent, that I should have focused more on the best than the worst that occupied my life. There were even some days I forgot to look for the bright spots entirely. But those days were few and far between.
Today, I am awash with gratitude. So we are going to focus on today.
This past weekend, I competed in the Summer Fitness Throwdown. This was the first CrossFit competition to come up since I joined Cantina CrossFit, and several of the women I work out with regularly and I decided to form a team and compete. None of us are at a competitive level, but our coaches encouraged every member of the box, telling us that we should not be afraid to compete, that if we can do the WODs there, we can compete in a larger arena.
I have never really been an “athlete.” For some reason, marching band doesn’t really count. (I was the rifle captain, we did some pretty athletic stuff during those shows!) So this was really the first time I was in this type of situation. Intimidating competitors, high intensity atmosphere, and cheering, screaming, groaning onlookers. It was overwhelming. I was terrified. I wanted to either throw up (which would have been acceptable) or run away (which would not have been as acceptable.) I ended up settling for going to the bathroom six times before our first heat started.
The morning competition – sprints, walking lunges, and push presses – was harder than I thought it would be. I started to get scared that I was going to pass out mid-lunge and embarrass my team. But I didn’t, and we got through the heat and managed to finish two full rounds before time ended. After that, I began to really have fun. We could do this. I could do this! We cheered on the other two teams from our box, and watched athletes of ridiculous ability go out and do their thing. It was amazing.
In life, there are some moments that take your breath away and leave you feeling humbled and powerful all at once. This was one of those moments.
By the end of the second round of competition, I was on a high like I had never felt before. I felt strong. Even knowing that there were dozens of people stronger than me competing, I felt like the strongest woman on the planet in that moment.
We spent two days at the Throwdown. Competing and talking, and cheering on our teams. The atmosphere was charged with a current run from the electricity of all the cross-fitters that came out to rally around their “Sport of Fitness.” After the second day of competition, when things were winding down, and the athletes were beginning to file out, it hit me… the overwhelming sense of thankfulness that I held. For the women on my team, for the coaches that encouraged us, and for the athletes that cheered us, from Cantina as well as from other boxes. I am so blessed to have this in my life. It reminds me that I am amazing, even as I seek to become a better me.
Sometimes it seems like the Universe is stacking up blessings at your feet. They are usually disguised as everyday ordinary occurrences, or opportunities to spend more time smiling. Like this weekend, for instance. Friday the King and I spent the evening with our friends Jacob and Cathy. We had a wonderful dinner at Sushi and Saki (although, that is the last all you can eat sushi I attempt) and then we went bowling at the bowling alley next door. For those of you that know me at all, you know that “inconsistent” is usually the nicest thing you can say about my bowling abilities. But Friday I got my highest score ever, despite an incredibly slow start to the game. I have no idea how I pulled this off, but I guess bowling isn’t so bad…
Saturday, I actually slept in for the first time in months. I stayed in bed until almost 8:30! (well, after waking up at 5:30 and putting the dogs out, I went back to bed and stayed there.) Ed and I grabbed a couple of burritos and then went to help my WODsister move into her new place. It was a really pretty day, and it was nice to be outside together. Ed tends to stay inside when he is off. I guess when you work out in the sun all day, its not as much fun to just be outside. At least without a fishing pole.
After that we tried this new restaurant for lunch, Flamez. It was a little pricey, but OOOOHHHHH EMMMMMMM GEEEEEE! It was delish! They had a great selection of different kinds of burger patties to choose from, check it out:
Ed declared them to be the best burgers he has ever eaten. That is pretty impressive coming from him. I am not really a big burger person, so I had the Caprese sandwich, and let me tell you…. Yum! We had two meals and an appetizer and it was about $35.00, so not outrageous. Check it out if you are in the area.
I also got several of the plants I requested from Spring Hill Nursery, they were delivered on Saturday. The grab bag of full sun perennials ended up being four potentially large shrubberies (which is a word that never fails to remind me of Monty Python. “we are the knights who say Ni!”) We will see if these plants manage to live. We may have over fertilized the yard area a little when we were planning on putting in grass, so the soil there could be anywhere from perfect to highly corrosive. It should be interesting to find out which end of the spectrum it falls on.
After lunch we went to our friends’ house for a barbecue. These were the same group of friends that went with us to the lake, and so we had to have a corn-hole rematch. The new boards are a little slick, so it will take a little more practice for Jenn and I to take back the crown. But we will…. oh yes, we will. I am wondering how much the margaritas had to do with our less than killer scores. Maybe the jello shots were a factor. Hard to say.
Sunday morning was my first PiYo in the Park with my friend Angie teaching the class. It was great! What a nice way to start the day! Grisham Park in Northeast Albuquerque is a great little park with exorcise equipment and big shade trees. Its also right down the street from my house. It was a good stretch and a nice start to the day. And with that out of the way, the rest of the day could be spent in Father’s Day mode. I called my Daddy (who is the paramount example of fatherhood on the planet, thank you very much) and we talked about the US Open and yard maintenance, as well as his and mom’s upcoming visit. If only he were closer, I would have loved to see him for Father’s day.
But, the King woke up to a nice card, courtesy of yours truly. He also got to play his Xbox all uninterrupted-like while I was out at PiYo. Then he got homemade brunch, also courtesy of yours truly, although the cat helped (mostly by sitting in his lap.) After brunch he got calls from all of his kids, from his Auntie Jenny, his mom, and a really nice facebook post from a young man he essentially helped to raise. He also got a call from Jay, which was very sweet but I am not sure how he rates. On mother’s day, all I got was a text from my son, yet Ed gets a call…. hmmm….
Since both of the boys were working, we went to BWW to see them, and the girls also came by with their boyfriends. They got Ed his very own cheesecake and a really sweet card for Father’s day, and of course, several rounds of drinks for him to share with his kids. Needless to say, he was in heaven.
I even “let” him play more Xbox.
A whole lot of happy memories rolled up into two days, some good food, great friends, and loving family.
Spring is finally here. I can tell Spring is here, because we started ripping up the front yard, cleaning out the back yard, and planting flowers in every place we have something resembling soil. Better weather also means more chores around the house. Don’t you love it?
Saturday saw me at the box bright and early. Miss Carley had made her return and remembered that she is the bomb and can totally rock a workout. (Something I think she had forgotten, at least inside the box.) My friend Mechem also came out for her second visit to Cantina CrossFit. I guess she really likes it, she joined the same day! I didn’t get the chance to stay for the regular workout on Saturday, which was disappointing. Saturday was a Hero WOD in honor of former U.S. Navy SEAL Glen Doherty. A hero WOD is usually pretty tough, and very, very special. I wish I could have stayed for this one.
What I did instead was meet King Edward in the front yard, still in my workout gear, and shovel rock. Lots and lots of rock. We are repairing the damage done to our yard from the broken water main and its repair. You may remember the water main story, it was the “P-word” disaster directly after the shower and sprinkler system debacle. No? Does this help?
Or maybe this?
So now we have to repair the damage done to our sprinklers system, and therefore the yard and flower bed it once supported. Say, are you free over… the next three weekends? Maybe you could come and help! What’s that? You are already busy? Oh, ok, I understand.
Don’t get me wrong, the weekend wasn’t all working out and working. Saturday evening I spent with some very good friends at a baby shower for my friend Stephanie’s daughter. Stephanie is about to be a Grandma again, and this time she is getting a granddaughter. She did a beautiful job on the party, all in a butterfly theme, and put Martha Stewart to shame in the crafting of the decorations and the party favors. I myself walked out with a tiny bottle of honey, a tiny baby bottle filled with candy, and a hard candy lollipop with wildflower seeds and pink and purple seed pods, all decked out with the baby’s name and instructions where needed. She is going to have a lot of fun with this little girl! (And I got candy, BONUS!)
Sunday was more relaxing. Well, after the six hours of homework that the morning presented. King Edward and I took a quick trip to the dump to get rid of the debris from Saturday’s yard work. Then we went to lunch and to pick up food for the puppies. Earthwise Pets is awesome, they keep track of the dog food and treats that we buy so we always know what we are getting. They also have a loyalty program so you earn $$ off as you go. Sunday I needed two bags of food for two hungry doggies, and I had earned one free bag, plus $5 off the other. Not bad! That paid for our lunch!
I love my weekends. I love unexpected front yard beautification projects, and butterfly party favors. I love spending time with people I adore and watching them enjoy each other too. I love a surprise lunch, and the occasional surprise bargain. (I really do love a bargain, just ask anyone.) And I love the fact that I am blessed with each of these little gifts, and with the ability to recognize them and give thanks.
Well, I am definitely getting busy with work! Actually, that is just fine with me, I like to be busy and the upcoming program review has kept me (and a small army of other people) hopping with work to keep up. As happy as I am to be busy, I honestly can’t wait for it to be over as I have been stressing over it since the day I took the job! Two more weeks, and then I am going to sleep for three days… And start obsessing over some other thing with a deadline and a high level of stress that my crazy boss has gotten himself into.
The semester is almost over (yay!) and I only have a few more assignment, a 5 page paper, 3 shorter papers, 5 quizzes, 3 psych studies, and a final exam. Yeah, that’s barely anything… Cake.
I did get my mid-term back from my Microeconomics class. And let me tell you, this was a Herculean effort to complete. I have been working on this project for a month and I flat out thought I would fail. This professor is TOUGH! I didn’t fail, I got 215/200, so not too shabby. My gosh I will be glad when this class ends. It has been soooooo stressful! I will say, however, that the “A” I earned on this project is one of the ones I am most proud of in my second scholastic career.
I had some great box time this week. A work out with Angie and Tea is always fun! And, of course, my girl Barb pushes me to do my best every single time! What was really awesome this week? I had the chance to work with all three of the Cantina Coaches. I tend to see a lot of Dustin on weeknights, but I actually got to work with Chad and Mike this week too. It was great to have the benefit of all the guys and their input on my performance. They are all pretty amazing coaches, and really great guys.
I had a nice coffee/tea date with my girl Toni-Lei and walked the park with my girl Rebekah too. I had more lessons in wielding a stick, and got to talk to Daddy on the phone. (Which is a big deal, beacause the Masters was on, and he didn’t even seem to be angry that I had interrupted golf watching!)
Today I even threw a little dirt around and planted some more flowers, and got to greet my King Edward at the door when he got home. I would say I am pretty happy. Why not? I have friends, family, and a beautiful series of little moments to cherish.
I have a good life, and I am lucky enough to recognize it.
I had a wonderful weekend and a great Easter! I found two beautiful dresses, on sale at Kohls. I picked up my race packet at the new ABQ Running Shop, worked on snatches at Cantina CrossFit with Barb (and some great coaching by Chad, who did not laugh even once.) Ran a 5k with a phenomenal group of friends. We celebrated a friend’s birthday with some of my favorite people on Earth. I got to meet two brand new babies, and spent Easter with my King Edward and the furry kids.
Yeah, life is good.
And that is no April Fools…
This week has been particularly rewarding for me. I checked off lots of items on my work list of things to do. I made hummus from scratch, out of cashews (shut up, what?). And I hit several personal records for fitness. I also played with my sweet puppies, made a delicious chicken and roast vegetable bake for dinner on Wednesday, and broke out the Spring dresses for the first time this year. Add to that the fact that my Scentsy order came in and my whole life is smelling like a rose. Well, at the moment its smelling like Two Harbors, and that is even better! I even spent some quality time in my hoop.
How about that recipe for cashew hummus? Got if from the guys at Cantina Crossfit. For those of you who need to know how its made, here is the recipe. Get a pencil an paper, this is complicated.
Cashew Nut Hummus
1/3 cup cashews
1 tbs olive oil
3 garlic cloves
3 tbs lemon juice
Dash salt and pepper
Blend into a smooth paste. Eat
Did you get all that? Complex and overwhelming, right? Here is my only bit of advice, chop the nuts first. I had relatively chunky hummus because my little magic bullet wasn’t quite up to the job. Other than that, this was amazingly delicious! Need the picture? I didn’t take one of mine, you can thank me for that. It sort of looked like chunky peanut butter gone horribly awry. Here is one that looks appetizing.
As for those personal records in fitness, I ran my first uninterrupted mile and a half, and hit new weights for both the push press and the squat press. I finished my mile and a half in 16:41, not exactly Olympic speed, but pretty darn good for someone that swore off running in the third grade, just on principle. And my squat and push press went from 65lbs and 45 lb, to 75lbs and 55lbs respectively. I am constantly amazed at how much I am enjoying this CrossFit adventure. I keep trying to figure out how to explain it but I think one of my coaches said it pretty well the other day. A CrossFit box truly is a “No Judgement Zone.” You can be the strongest person there, you can be the newest person there, you can be the one with the most limitations, and everyone looks at you and sees “athlete.” No matter your fitness level, or how long you have been training, or what brought you in the door, they see an athlete, and more importantly they see a member of their team. When you walk into my box at Cantina CrossFit, you will be welcomed by everyone. You will get one-on-one training. You will have other athletes cheering for you and celebrating you and your successes. When was the last time you went to the gym and they talked with you about nutrition, hydration, stretching, warming up, resting, or heck, anything at all. So there you go, hot off the heels of a hellacious WOD, and still singing the praises of CrossFit. You have GOT to give this a try.
I also had the best time with my furry little babies this week. My Duke is now only slightly smaller than a horse. My Saki is starting to fight for her food, meaning the little dude is hoovering everything in sight. He has also reached a “jumping-at-Momma-and-trying-to-drag-her-to-the-floor” phase. He is slowly learning what “Go lay down!” means. Although he is still very fuzzy on “Stop jumping on me!” We are working on it. Saki continues to tempt my patience by finding the nearest patch of dirt to roll in, as soon as she seems dry, directly after her bath. You can see the results of her skill here. This was taken 6 hours after bath time.
And, of course, my sweet little Nikki angel (demon) is still waging a one-cat-war on the dogs that have infiltrated her home. She gets remarkably close to each of them and then spits and hisses and runs away. She does not slap at them. They are both much bigger than she is. Last night she got nose to nose with Duke and was sniffing at him in an almost friendly manner, until he made a sudden movement. Then she bolted halfway across the room. Its progress though. All three of the furry kids got new toys this week, although Saki has already eaten a hole in hers and she and Duke have both had their toys taken away. It is a difficult concept to teach a dog, that they have been grounded from their toys. Mostly because they can easily replace their toys with, say, Mommy’s Lululemon yoga shorts….
The sweetest smelling part of the week, no doubt, was the delivery of my Scentsy haul. I agonized over these scents for what was an unseemly amount of time. If you have never tried Scentsy, you do not know what you are missing. This is a hundred times better than anything you can get in the stores. The fragrances are fabulous and they last for ages! Its almost annoying, because you really want to try a million difference scents and the ones you have are still in your collection. This is one of the new ones that I got last night and it is amazing! Two Harbors is a lemon-lime with a vanilla amber twist. But what it really is, is a mixture of joy and gelato, with a touch of that awesome sherbet punch that your favorite aunt makes, but only on special occasions. Needless to say, my house smells like heaven!
So there you have it. All the wonders of a pretty happy week. A ton of tiny blessings and, best of all, the ability to recognize them and rejoice.
Happy Easter and Happy Passover to everyone!