Have you ever wished that you still had that same sense of wonder that you did when you were a child? When you grow up, you stop seeing things as magical and start seeing them as logical. We seem to train our bodies and brains to do the exact opposite of what we should do. We train ourselves to eat for convenience instead of for fuel or nutrition. We train our bodies to rely on machines instead of our own strength and flexibility. And we train our minds to rely on what we see as fact, on logic and science and dogma, as we ignore the inner voices that see pictures in clouds and turns cardboard boxes into sailing ships.
Today, two things happened to help me see the wonder in the world. First, I went to hoop class. Surprised? Spending 30 minutes inside a hula hoop is not just exercise, its recess. When you are hooping, you are going to be smiling, even if the hoop falls a lot. Even if every else looks like they are doing it better. Because you are moving around shaking your body like you did when you were a kid. Hooping is good for your soul. It lets you see the world like its full of magic and wonder, just like when you were young.
Second, I gave my cat a bag. Yes, you read that right. If you have a cat you need no further explanations. If you don’t, let me tell you of the magic that is a cat and her paper bag. Cats love things that crinkle and rustle. They love to jump in and out of boxes and bags and drawers and cupboards and, well, you get the idea. When you give cats “cat toys” they will be interested in them for a while, but then the magic fades and they either destroy the thing or ignore it completely. But a big paper bag? That is kitty crack
There is nothing on this earth like a cat in a paper bag to make you realize that there is joy and wonder to be found everywhere. Inside the hoop, or in a bag, go find some magic and stretch your imagination. See the wonder in your world.
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.
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!
So this was a pretty big week! Here’s how it went…
I have been really enjoying my Crossfit experience, and one of the coaches talked me into giving it a two week test drive. Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday in the box. My friend from the Saturday morning Meetups, Barbara, goes at that time also, so it worked out pretty good. I was going to start last week, but got sidelined by the stomach bug. So Monday, February 25, I headed over to Cantina Crossfit to start my new workout regimen. Fear and Panic, followed by Pain and Suffering, with a healthy dose of Awe and Confidence to finish it up. That is pretty much my experience. I freak out panic all day that I won’t be able to do what they ask of me, then I push as hard as I can to be able to do it. At the end out each session I am amazed that I was able to achieve the goal for the day, even if I finish dead last, or have to scale back for my strength. Crazy, huh?
So, my first weekday workout, and they are doing squats, and presses, and pullups. Weightlifting and Ida lifting all at once. (I won’t tell you which is harder, but the weighted bar was only 45 pounds, so I am sure you could guess. Just not out loud please, I do have my pride.)
This week was also really homework intensive. Microeconomics is becoming my chief academic nemesis, and the sheer volume of reading involved in Psychology and History is starting to overwhelm. Although I have a much better understanding of ancient civilizations and what perception really means…. I am still a little rocky on our to understand the marginal cost of something as related to the number of units to produce, but I am working on it.
Tuesday I did go to the sculpt and strengthen class at lunch, and it kicked my butt because I was still tired from Monday night, so I may not do that again! But we will see. Wednesday, hoop class where I am still working on isolations and my new direction change move, then back to the box where Barb and I had a lot more company than on Monday. Three younger women, and a couple whose children sat quietly doing their homework while Mom and Dad worked out. It was another tough workout, but I am starting to get the sneaking suspicion that the whole point is to make it tough. And they are doing a fine job of it if that is the case.
I came in with the last time for our group, but I really don’t mind. The interesting thing about recording your time or reps for the workout of the day, it seems like you would compete against everyone else, but you don’t. Well, not really. Because even though everyone is doing the same workout, each person has a different level of achievement or progression, so you are only ever really competing with yourself. I know there is a gripping metaphor for life their somewhere, but I will let you find your own version of it, it should be scaled to your own existence, just like this workout was scaled to mine.
I did try and study a little on Wednesday night, but it seemed my attentions were needed elsewhere…
Thursday I managed to finish all of my homework, get quite a bit of work done, clean the kitchen, take a 50 minute walk with my Miss Rebekah and still have coffee with my girls Toni-Lei and Stephanie. It has become increasingly hard to find time for all three of us to get together, and we are now down to about once a month. Toni’s business is really starting to pick up with her real estate and property management business, Couture Brokerage, and Steph has a handful with working crazy hours and watching her grandson several times a week. But it is nice that we all have a chance to get together even if its limited, and more importantly, that we still work to find time together.
Friday was my day off (yay!) and I took the opportunity to sleep in until almost 7:00 a.m. before getting up to feed the puppies and then start my day of leisure. I did hit the scale first, and check it out!
I am now only 2.8 pounds away from my next weight goal. This has taken over a year and I am super excited to think I will hit 150! Now I can work on strength and conditioning, you know, in case of a zombie apocalypse…
Friday morning I met my friend Alyssa for tea at Figments Tea Shoppe and we had a pot of their delicious chocolate raspberry truffle black tea. And since we were in the tea shoppe and enjoying a pot over scones, we had to find the perfect tea party hats as well. Luckily, Figments supplies a nice variety to pick from.
This week was busy, and a little overwhelming. But it was also very rewarding, and filled with accomplishment. Its nice that we can balance that sense of panic and pressure with an appreciate of achievement and joy. I think that is what makes our human existence so unique, the limitless amount we can feel and experience at any given time. I know I am grateful that I can carry both drive and contentment with me throughout my life.
See you all soon, have a great week, and try and find a moment for a spot of tea! (I have a great hat you can borrow.)
I love weekends. Today I slept until 7:30! It was a great feeling until I actually tried to get out of bed. It was then I realized that every muscle in my body had banded together to stage a sit in. Holy crossfit, Batman! It hurt to even think about moving! It took me three tries to get rolled over to where I could get out of the bed. Then two more tries to stand up. The swear the cat was laughing at me. (Of course she is usually laughing at me, but a little less obviously.) Geez I hurt. Its awesome!
Ok, so… No I am not crazy. I really hate being incapable of rapid movement, but I really love what got me here. Being able to actually complete one of these beastly workouts gives me a great feeling of accomplishment and power. So, bring on the aches and pains, those are temporary. The feeling of confidence and achievement sticks around a lot longer.
Today, Ed and I took the pups for a walk around the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day and nice to be out with the furry kids. Saki is really doing well, responding to commands and not barking at people or animals. Duke, on the other hand, was a wriggling pile of legs and ears, trying to run in eight directions at once. The King had quite a workout of his own, trying to get our little chocolate lab to stay calm, slow down, and listen. Which is why I walked Saki. I already had a killer workout this weekend.
It was nice, though. A pretty blue sky, warm enough for just a sweatshirt, and being out of the house and doing something together. Ed and I spend a lot of time near each other, but that doesn’t always translate into doing things together. Every chance we get to be active, and truly enjoy doing something with each other, together, is a gift. One I am always happy to receive.
After walking the dogs, we went out to Menchies for Ed’s first frozen yogurt experience. He seemed to really enjoy it too. I guess cheesecake yogurt with cheesecake bites are good enough to overlook the whole “healthy for you” stigma of the yogurt itself. I was sort of hoping that would be the case, but you never know.
Now that we had our (varying degrees of ) healthy snacks, we headed home. Ed to blast through bad guys on Xbox, me to read all about perception and the way our senses work to create our interpretation of the world around us. I will leave it to you to decide which is more exciting. I had a little time before heading to hot yoga -a new Sunday necessity- so I started reading a book I had waiting on the Kindle. I have not had a lot of opportunity to get to some of the books in my “to be read” pile, so getting in a few pages was a nice bonus. And, in case you are interested, the book I am reading is “Switch-How to Change Things When Change is Hard.” It is a good read so far and was recommended by one of my fitness coaches, so I am looking forward to finishing it.
I was happy to get to hot yoga, and the heat and the stretching relaxed all those muscles who were still staging their protest. After an hour in the hot room, I was able to move much better! A nice way to end the weekend. And a great way to start the new week. All in all, a rewarding couple of days.
I slept in this morning! I slept until 7:15 a.m., a good hour and a half longer than i normally sleep. It was great! And since I have been doing Crossfit on Saturday mornings, that means no coffee, just water, and a bowl of oatmeal. Oatmeal with crystallized ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, and apple. Mmmmmm…. Yum! Add a dash of whey protein and that is my morning workout fuel! Delish!
Justin also went to crossfit again, and he brought his room mate Gary. Both of the guys looked as wiped as I felt at the end of the workout. Its good to know its not just me that gets my backside handed to me by the Cantina Crossfit trainers. These guys are NO JOKE awesome!
So other than crossfit, the best thing about Saturday for me is the chance to just kind of relax. You guys may know that I keep pretty busy, work full-time, school part-time, working out 5-6 days a week, running a house full of animals and giving at lease a little quality time to my King Edward. So with all of that, I really try and spend a part of every Saturday just relaxing with my motley crew.
This Saturday, the king and I went to do a few errands and then had an early dinner at Bravo! in uptown. A nice relaxing day. It was even warm enough for walking around with only a sweater.
So my relax and chill Saturday afternoon gives me yet another reason to be thankful. A day to just sort of be… to be happy with spending some quiet time feeling like I belong in my world, and that I am happy there. Maybe not an over-the-top, excitement filled day but definitely the kind of day I will take, any day of the week.