Friday, December 31, 2010

What's It All About?

At the end of the year, several things happen to me.

  1. I feel bad about all the writing projects I didn't finish, start or work on in the year that is coming rapidly to a close, like a slamming door. 
  2. I vow to scale back on my ambitions for the coming year.
  3. I think about what really has stuck with me from the past year. 
  4. I do some crazy, unplanned cleaning projects that make me feel like I've accomplished something, however small.
  5. I do some last minute writing, as if writing 500 words can make a difference in the unfinished novel/article/nonfiction book that I haven't been working on.
  6. I make some crazy plans to do stuff on New Year's Eve/New Year's Day that I think will set a good precedent for the coming year. To whit:
    • not drink too much
    • go to bed early, in order to get a good night's sleep
    • get up early and write
    • spend the day doing something that is indicative of the coming year. In this case, I'll be attending and judging at a Crossfit competition
Unlike many of my friends, I resolve to eschew resolutions. I will not be giving up my much needed morning coffee with half-and-half. But here are some things I'm going to think about, because they seem like things I can do:
  1. Swear more
  2. Eat a lot of meat
  3. Drink a lot of coffee
  4. Write, just a little bit?
  5. Do a lot of Crossfit
  6. Help at least one person become more fit in 2011
Oh yes, that title. What's it all about, people? It's about people. It's about quality of life. It's about community. That's why, each year when I regard my writing accomplishments with dismay, I like to remind myself that I worked out a lot, that I hung out with my peeps and drank coffee, that I hugged some people, that I had some awesome wine with my Wine Club, that I had some great tea & conversation with my Book Club, that I played a lot of games with my Family, and that, if I died tomorrow, I wouldn't die feeling like the people I love don't know how much I love them. And that, my friends, is what it's all about.
Here's to more wine, tea, coffee and conversation in 2011!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Some Favorites of the Year

  • Cocktail: The Old Fashioned. Between my lovely, lovely trip to Appleton, Wisconsin & MB's new cocktail book (and let's not forget expensive cherries), this has got to be the best discovery of 2010
  • Wine: sparkling. Love all things sparkly & bubbly. Yeah! 
  • Thing to eat: Sea Salt chocolate
  • Trilogy: The Hunger Games. Gave me some small faith in YA fiction and female protagonists.
  • Mystery: Hypothermia. I may never get over my love affair with Arnaldur Indridason. 
  • Novel: The Anthologist. This was a tough choice. I think I had to choose this one because it was such a nice, quiet book. Not over written, not announcing its greatness, but great nonetheless. 
  • Non-fiction book: Heft on Wheels. Inspiring book about how a man gets obsessive about biking and loses a lot of weight. 
  • Newly Discovered TV Show: Bored to Death. Jason Schwartzman and Zach Galafianakis. Need I say more?
  • Most disappointing new season of show I loved: Californication, Season 3. I mean, I still love DD, but they weren't sure what to do with the story line this season....sad. 
  • Movie watched on Netflix: I've Loved You So Long. I loved this movie, mostly because it was so beautiful and slow and it conveyed so much by letting silence just stand, which most American movies don't do. Plus I think I have a long-standing crush on Kristin Scott Thomas (dating back to "The English Patient"). 
  • 2010 Movie: The Kids are Alright. It's the duo of Mark Ruffalo &  Julianne Moore that put this movie over the top for me. Everyone is good in this. 
  • Best Documentary: Man on Wire
  • Favorite TV Show (that I actually watch on TV): tie between "Glee" and "Modern Family"
  • Favorite new activity: teaching the body-weight exercise class at Studio Azul. I make them suffer & they like me. What else does a woman need?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

What We Drank

  • Christmas Caipirinhas (lime, ginger, rum, ginger ale)
  • Spanish Red 
  • Gruet Sparkling Wine
  • Claret
  • Ridge Zinfandel
  • Cote du Rhone
  • Old Fashioned: blood orange, lemon, expensive maraschino cherries, Maker's Mark
  • Shot in the Dark: lemon juice, simple syrup, rum (shake!), ginger ale, dark rum floated on top, raw sugar around the rim of the glass (soooooooooooooooooo delicious)
Obviously this was not all in one night, but over the last few days. Last night we did have quite a few cocktails (Old Fashioneds & Shots in the Dark, multiples).
Also, the best thing ever is projecting movies on to the white wall of our living room. We've watched "The Sting" and "Paper Moon." I'm hoping we can watch something else tonight. It's like an in-house movie theater and it rocks. The only drawback is that we have to move our couch to enjoy it. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Weekend Consumption Log


  • Sushi at Yellowfin, with a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  • Fancy vodka drink & a glass of red wine, pommes frite & some chicken pot pie at The Metropolitan
  • Ice cream at the Jazz game
  • Tea with whiskey at home
  • Butternut Squash Soup with Cinnamon Crema (oh! my! god!) and Spicy Beef Salad at Chow Truck
  • Cava at the Monaco wine tasting, Prosseco in E & K's room after
  • Tapas & Sangria at Martine: trout with lentils, duck!, Spanish tortilla, something with chorizo, lamb; then a glass of Rioja; chocolate decadence & grilled gringerbread & porto
  • A drink in The Vault at Bambara: Old Fashioned & some calamari & shrimp
  • The rest of the Prosseco in E & K's room
  • Free coffee in the lobby of the Monaco
  • Brunch at Bambara: tomato & roasted pepper omelette, fresh orange juice, complimentary fruit plate
  • Curry Chicken Soup (I made): chicken, coconut milk, ginger, sweet potatoes, carrots, rice noodles
  • Pear-Apple-Berry Crisp (I made): delicious! Turns out pears are a delicious addition to any crisp!
It's always gratifying to return home after a long stint of good eating out and to remind oneself that one can, when pressed, make a good soup based loosely on a recipe and top it off with a crisp made from the over ripe fruit at hand. All in all, a successful culinary weekend. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Beauty of Getting Older that you appreciate things so much more.
Such as:

  • my amazing husband (who else would have married me?)
  • friends you have known for a long time
  • friends with whom you have many things in common
  • the laughter of Son (and his sense of humor in general)
  • delicious drinks, like Jack Frost, The Metropolitan, and White Sangria
  • the amazing shoulders of Dwight Howard, seriously, check this dude out
  • friends who will take your crazy son for the night so you can, briefly, pretend to be an Adult
  • being so much stronger this year than last
  • being able to afford to go out for fancy drinks & a fancy dinner (at least a few times a year)
  • wine
  • mountains
  • my very expensive Victoria's Secret bra (I saw a dude checking me out at the game last night. It's so the bra!)

Sunday, December 05, 2010

She Will Discuss Bacon with No Man

Back when I was young, in my twenties, I had a mild flirtation going on with my best friend from junior high's brother. At the time, I was involved in a relationship with a guy who was way more into me than I was into him and I wasn't super attracted to him, so BF Brother represented a younger, hipper, sexier alternative. He was In A Band and he lived kind of Day to Day, whereas the other guy was Responsible and Had a Career.
Anyway, I wrote the BF Brother these mildly suggestive letters, which were about how I wasn't into relationships (this was a great part of my attraction to older men & younger men during this time of my life), and how everyone else was a version of The Man.
One letter described in detail my trip to a grocery store and how I was so very disdainful of a conversation I overheard. A couple earnestly fought over what kind of bacon to buy as they stood in front of the meat counter. Her hair was perfectly coiffed and I'm quite sure that he was wearing loafers. This, to me, represented the very depth of the Ridiculous Domestic, that which I aspired never to be. I told this boy that I would never do this. No! I would discuss bacon with no man. What was the point? Choose a bacon and move on!
Well, friends, I can testify that now, nearly 42, I am all that and more.
But today, after Middlebrow & I raked & shoveled leaves from our driveway and lawn (yes, chores which normal home owners did in October), I walked to the store. I was all aglow with the domestic my friends. Yes, reveling in the fact that I, the woman who once proclaimed she would discuss bacon with no man, felt gratified by the morning's domestic chores and was, in fact, looking forward to even more domestic chores: making homemade mac and cheese for a friend's kids, making turkey curry, cleaning the living room, doing laundry (okay, I really didn't look forward to that!), totally ensconcing myself in the domestic tableau. Me! Once foe to The Domestic.
Oh how the mighty have fallen!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

More Disgusting Trials I Will Not Mention

If one were to make a brochure or a pamphlet or even, God forbid!, a short book called, perhaps, The Truth about Parenting, no one, I submit, NO ONE would actually ever become a parent. Because, by God, one is called upon to do disgusting things that no amount of money could induce you to do but you do it now, for FREE!, because and for no other reason: you are a Parent.
I will not trouble you with the gag inducing details of said activity, but suffice it to say I need a very, very large drink, preferably made by someone else.
Okay, yes, I will admit here that small children are cute, but they can also be vicious (they have sharp teeth! ouch!), and yes, their little hands are adorable when they pat you on the back or when they grasp yours. Cute! Cute!
But really.
I will say no more, for fear of betraying the disgusting which I promised not to divulge.
Except I will remind you that one time I had to put my hands out to catch the vomit (vomit!) of my son. And this, THIS, was even more disgusting than that.
Where is my drink?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Proud to Be An American

Now, before you go singing that song, which is basically the musical equivalent of the phrase "Freedom isn't Free" and a bumper sticker that reads "Ask me how I feel about America!" and also something slightly more red-necky, let me just say that what made me feel proud this week has nothing to do with traditional patriotism.
Sometimes I have serious qualms about this project we call America, not because of our politics which are, let's face it, in a state of near patheticism, but culturally. I think we are best known for things like "American Idol" and "Jersey Shore" and Taylor Swift. Where is the art, my people, wherefore the Big Ideas?
Well, this week I was made proud on two counts by the same work of art; proud as a mother, and proud as a member of the culture that produced said work of art. And what, my friends, was this little gem?
It was this week's episode of "Glee." Yes, hokey songs and choreography, yes emotionally manipulative. But, the message was timely and oh so important: those of us who are not gay or bullied have to stand up for those who are. Yes, we need to love our (metaphorical and literal) brothers.
I am proud to be part of the culture that produced this art, knowing full well that there are still people out there who will speak out against it.
This episode brought me to tears. And it brought Son to tears. Sometimes I think he is too much boy, not feeling enough, not given to bouts of sympathy. But it made him cry, even if he didn't quite understand the implications of it. And that made me proud.

Monday, November 22, 2010

What's My Motto?

Over round there at Hightouch, she is thinking about mottos and whatnot.
Seeing as how I am now a Level 1 Crossfit Certified Trainer (TM), I feel I need a motto that reflects the various facets of my personality, my English PhD-ness, my Crossfitty self, my bad mothering. You know, all of me.
  • Fixing your grammar and your air squat
How's that? It seems a little literal and perhaps too long. Also, not catchy.
  • Dr. Crossfit, Bitches
Seeing as how I am not really a doctor, this might not work.
  • I'm not your mother, I'm a writer with a stopwatch.
Again, not catchy. And really wouldn't make sense to anyone but me. And maybe one other person.
  • Often confuses Crossfit with Mothering
Yeah, that would go over well at the gym...and at home.
  • Ridding the world of bad form across broad time and modal domains
Oh yeah, that's it. Again, only a few people will get it.

I used the slogan generator that Hightouch linked to. Here's my favorite:
  • Something happens after a pull up

Enough said.

Friday, November 19, 2010

What "hate" Means to a 9 Year Old

This morning, when I took my son's book away because he needed to eat breakfast instead of read, he threw a Royal Fit which consisted of him screaming and stomping and throwing a basketball at MB. Then, of course, he shouted at me, red in the face, "I hate you!"
Of course it made me angry, but what does the word "hate" really mean to a 9 year-old?
Let's consider some of its uses:

  • "I hate ______!" (insert name of vegetable): This means: I don't like it, I won't try it. You can't make me!
  • "I hate ______!" (insert school subject): This means: It's difficult, or they try to tell me what to do.
  • "I hate Justin Beiber!": This means, I hate Justin Beiber, and really, who can blame him?
  • "I hate cleaning my room!" : This is just an acknowledgement of a universal truth. Everyone hates cleaning. 
  • "I hate you!" : This means, as my mother, you are supposed to love me, even when I scream like this at you. You still love me, right? Wait, I'm going to throw something! Now do you still love me? Wait! I can scream louder! Louder still! I'm still screaming. I can do whatever I want and you still have to feed me breakfast! You can't deny me breakfast! It's illegal! Where's my breakfast? What do you mean I still have to go to school? I'm screaming! 
So, in this short post I have proven when a 9 year old yells, "I hate you!" at his mother, what he really means is "I need a hug." 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

To Be Read in a Robot Voice

Things I did today:

  • Took the dog to the Avenues dog park where he lost the ball, chewed the ball, refused to surrender the ball
  • Called my mom on the (dreaded) cell phone
  • Had coffee at Starbucks with my Crossfit homies
  • Shopped at Costco for veggies, nuts & cheese (and spent less than $100 thus undoing the "Hundred Dollar Store" curse)
  • Ate
  • Went to my office where I tried to help a student understand sentence boundaries; success unknown
  • Observed presentations in my novel writing class
  • Watched TV
  • Scrubbed the refrigerator (almost forgot this one!)
My life is not exciting but may somehow be made exciting through the vigorous application of a robot voice & a liberal dose of whiskey. 

I will pause now so that you may reflect. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In Which My Son Becomes Hypergraphic

If I ever doubt my efficacy as a mother and a writer (and if you have found your way here, you know I do), my doubts have been assuaged, nay, slaughtered, by my son's recent foray into the form of the epistolary novel. The name of it, which I have coined from the names of his characters, is Letters from Parsel, Beestower, Night Jade and Kwen. 
Let it be hereby known that:

  1. My son is a geek
  2. Those names make me feel like I'm trapped in a bad fantasy novel
  3. My son has written more today than I have in the last month, AND
  4. The above make me feel like a wild success as a writer/mother
So rather than wallowing, let me just say Huzzah! And as long as Son doesn't stow the letters beneath his bed in the style he is wont to do (i.e. like a homeless person acquiring fuel for a long winter's night), I will remain, ever,

Proud Mother

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Toilets of Appleton, Wisconsin

I have been in Appleton, Wisconsin for about 36 hours. On Wednesday night, not long after my arrival, my friend Alison took me to a sushi restaurant. Yes, it was delicious. And I drank sake. But that's not what I want to discuss here. What I want to discuss here is the apparent preference of Appletonians for odd Japanese/European toilets.
Let me explain. After eating sushi and drinking sake and about five glasses of water, I had to pee (it happens to the best of us). So I went into the bathroom at the sushi restaurant. The toilet had a heated seat which, in a public place, is a bit unnerving. Also, it had all these tubes and hoses affixed to the toilet, for various purposes (you can imagine), which made me afraid to sit on it, lest my nether regions were suddenly bathed in warm water. This did not happen.
Well, that was strange, but then last night we went to a fancy non-Japanese restaurant and they too had a crazy/fancy toilet, with a warmed seat and a control panel on the wall for how you wanted the water to spray out and whether you wanted it on your rear or forward parts.
Holy cow, Appleton! What's the deal? Even though I am not a fan of said toilet I can somewhat understand how there could be a Japanese toilet in a Japanese restaurant. I do not, however, understand the presence of a strange, perhaps European, toilet in a regular old fancy restaurant. The only plausible explanation is that Appletonians love their heated toilet seats and fancy bidet style cleansing mechanisms and somehow the restaurantuers of the Fox City region somehow discovered this information (how? diner comment cards?) and have implemented these toilets because, for some reason, the toilets affect how much the diners like their food.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Live from Appleton...

Here are a few of my thoughts from yesterday, gathered in retrospect as I sit here sipping coffee and thinking about how I should probably be drinking water...
  • There is a lot of farmland in the Midwest. This as I flew into Minneapolis-St. Paul. Big squares of brown, and dark brown and corn colored fields and fields of wheat. Also silos and big red barns. Also, sploches of intense red trees and rivers that looked like pieces of yarn that had been flung down. I wish I had an abstract painting of this view. Someone would say, "Oh look. Squares of brown and black and green," but I would know that it was a painting of farmland.
  • Hello! Water! Many, many, many lakes. Little circles and some shaped like tiny fish. Also, rivers. Also, water coming from the sky,  known as rain.
  • Holy Old Fashioned, Batman! These midwesterners know how to drink. And by that I mean, a Gulp sized drink made of brandy and god knows what else. For $3.50. And the whole bar was lit up like Christmas. And some guy in a button-down shirt was dancing next to the bar. To Simon & Garfunkel. 
  • Did you know that there is a drink size at 7-11 called The Gulp? This is the small. Then there is The Big Gulp, which is apparently a medium. This is apropos of the above "Gulp sized drink." I only know this because on Tuesday, when I felt a little high from my massage, I had to stop for a Cherry Coke and I got a Gulp, not Big Gulp, size. 
  • Sushi. Apparently you can get good sushi in Wisconsin. Also, I had sake.
  • Talking with my friend last night, I got several good ideas. Which reminded me that when visual artists and writers get together = KABOOM! So I need to be thinking these collaborative thoughts more often.
  • In room coffee = gack! Even if the label says "Wolfgang Puck."
  • The Wisconsin Fish Fry: ubiquitous. Apparently I am in for a treat. I can't wait to get to the VFW on Friday night, even though I am not Catholic and I think Friday is a fine time for rare steak. Also, I guess I have to drink beer from a can with it. 
  • More later.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I Wish I Had Something To Blog About

...but instead I have grading. And laundry. Oh yeah, that. And so much of it. Also, there are dishes.
I know, here I am on the interwebs, writing for god's sake, when the house is being overrun by piles of paper that seem so much more organized than I am.
So what it is that blocks the hyper-productivity that I imagine for myself in some far off otherworldly place where women write and, oh, I don't know, someone else scrubs the bathroom sink, does the grocery shopping and makes dinner?
What ever could it be?
  1. The interwebs
  2. Facebook
  3. Working out (okay, we all know that's #1)
  4. Grading
  5.  Life in general
  6. Self-doubt
  7. Reading
  8. Crossfit videos
  9. Thinking about why I'm not writing
  10. Liking to do other things

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Not as Productive as Hightouch...

Over at Hightouch she's making us all look bad with her productivity and general creative generativity. But, you know, I need to feel good about myself too, so I'm making a list to assuage my feeling that I'm not really doing as much as I could (which is basically how I feel 24/7).
Here's my list, which covers something like the last few days:
  1. Did Fight Gone Bad, for which I raised more than $200 (FGB is a Crossfit work out and trust me, you don't want to know what it is, just believe me when I say it's 17 minutes of hell, plus it was hot yesterday!)
  2. Ate a hamburger and drank a beer. (boy! that was hard work!)
  3. Made enchilada sauce from mostly* scratch (*bought and roasted Anaheim peppers, cut the onion myself, added spices and then opened a can of fire roasted tomatoes)
  4. Made enchiladas (chicken, cheese)
  5. Made cilantro margaritas (yes! they are as good as they sound!)
  6. Attended class party that I had helped plan & arrange
  7. Yawned vigorously and openly
  8. Went home early and went to bed
  9. Got up early (6:15), made myself a cup of coffee & took the Crazy Dog for a hike with some Awesome Friends
  10. Came home 
  11. Made Huevos Rancheros with left over enchilada sauce (yes! they are as good as they sound!)
  12. Got Son to do his chores
  13. Massacred the rose bushes in the front of my house
  14. Made Son's bed
  15. Laundrized the clothing
  16. Scrubbed, on hands and knees, with Comet, most of the kitchen floor (to be completed upon completion of this post) (yes! on hands and knees! It's archaic!! It works!!)
  17. Sat on couch and did the computer thing (in progress)
  18. Thought about what kind of salad to make for dinner
  19. Planned homemade salad dressing
  20. Blogged (in progress)
So, though I may have accomplished nothing on the Personal Growth end of things, my kitchen floor looks amazing (60%), my Son is clean and breathing (he took a shower!), and I know feel better about my productivity.
What a day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Blog is Dead! Long Live the Blog!

Over at Hightouch, she is contemplating the lack of inspiration for the blog. I agree that it is difficult to find reasons to blog, and yes, probably, FB is to blame for some of that.
But I am not ready to lose some of my favorite bloggers. So I'm going to try to blog in an effort to convey to them: look, we're blogging! It's a conversation! Let's talk!!

I spent most of yesterday reading In the Woods by Tana French (loaned to me by Hightouch). You can read my review over at Goodreads. But what I'll say here is, I like a good literary mystery but the key is balancing the literary with the mystery. If it's a mystery, it needs to have a good, solid plot that moves and doesn't get stalled in beautiful descriptions of the crime scene or the woods. Mostly these are notes for myself for the mystery I am not writing but need to finish. In The Woods actually has a lot in common with the book I'm trying to write and so it was a good reminder of what I want to do and how to do it. And what I don't want to do and BLEEP, I think I'm going to have to present resolution for both the main and sub-plots. Which doesn't mean back to the drawing board, it means writing more.
I think, maybe, I'll have finished the book in another 10 years. Damn!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What is good about Now?

Well, one thing is that since the semester has started, I don't have to fret about what might happen, because it's already happening.
What, you might ask, is that?
Well, first, the students are finally settling down into their roles as students. You know, the I'm going to ask the difficult question and try to pin you down student. The Why do you think you know so much about writing student. The I'm going to come, but you can't make me work student. The tell me more about your personal life student. The You are to blame for my shortcomings student. And the we love you no matter what because you are just a little bit funny and very sarcastic and seem to be looking down at us, oh, just a little bit students. Those last ones are my favorites.
Also, I am almost, maybe getting into a routine which involves exercise AND writing. But no grading. Well, I might have to work on that last one.
And, speaking of routines, it is now time for me to drive to the school of Son and pick him up, along with his trusty sidekick, whom I will call The Laugher because he laughs at every thing Son says, does or implies.
And with that, I'm off!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

On The First Day of School

My first day of teaching is over. Yeah!
I have to say that as far as first days of school go, it was pretty good. It went so fast that I didn't have time to feel hungry or lament my lack of coffee.
This year my first day of teaching coincided with Son's first day of school. I had time to snap the obligatory First Day photo, but little else. Middlebrow was charged with dropping him off and picking him up after. Pretty anti-climactic. There have been no reports, yet, but Son is busy establishing some kind of elaborate Lego culture, complete with Lego economy, in his room with his Friend. I expect that I'll get some kind of off-handed but revelatory comments later, like, "Oh, yeah, but then after Whatshisname puked, Alex told us we were going to compose a rock opera using Garage Band." And this will involve some supply that I'm supposed to bring, or some email I'm supposed to have sent or received, and maybe some costumes that I'm supposed to construct using t-shirts and duct tape. I look forward to it.
So far, the year is off to a good start. Son's class rocks, and is possibly the best ever. Ever! I'm hoping that the insane stacking of my classes in the morning (1-2-3!) will eliminate the time I spend fretting and over planning.
I'm looking forward to teaching the Novel Writing class tomorrow night.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Look! I'm blogging!

Now that I have decided that my goal is imperfection, I'm back on the 500 words a day plan. It also involves ice cream bars, neighborhood walks, driving around, expensive cheese, and not really cooking dinner.
So far, I feel pretty successful, the goal being imperfection. Also, my glutes hurt. Yes, that's a fancy word for butt.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Middlebrow's Anti-Anxiety Campaign

For many years, (how many? unknown) Middlebrow has been trying to get me to just fucking relax about the whole writer/writing thing.
This campaign was revived this morning when, packing up a box of manuscripts that I had, somehow, misguidedly, agreed to judge, I told him, "I'm going to think of myself as someone who likes to writer, rather than as a writer."
I believe he sighed heavily before saying, "You have a book out for fuck's sake." (I may have invented his use of the F word). "In any case, you should just relax and write when you want to write. Don't stress out about it."
This also brings to mind a conversation about a friend who became an EMT. We agreed that he would be a good caretaker in the time of emergency because he seems so even keeled and calm. Like Middlebrow. Though we agreed that neither of us could be EMTs because we couldn't do the simplest tasks, like insert an IV.
It seems to me I know people who are stress cases (me) and people who are chill (MB, our friend the EMT). We also have another friend, a writer whose writing we admire, and we recently talked about her ability to write, have children, be productive, make dinner, basically rule the world (Yes, Nik, it's you). I'm not sure how she does it, but it seems to involve not stressing out about any one thing.
So I need some of this non-stress mojo. Or does one have to care more than I do? Yes, I want to finish this novel, but I also want to hang out, go to the pool, see movies, and surf the internets.
But then I think about the novel, I think about writing the novel, or another book or whatever and my heart starts to palpitate.
What's a girl who likes writing to do?

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Sorry, and Shame and Anxiety

Holy Hell! I haven't blogged in months. Thanks, Nik & Hightouch, for bringing me to my senses.
Like others, I am caught up in the dread of the academic year. I have so much to do, that instead I look at Facebook for hours, not really "doing" anything, but more like, looking, staring off into space, thinking, remembering way back in May when I anticipated this moment when it came to me that the summer was, really and truly, almost over.
So I've been working on those fucking syllabi, and drinking wine, and trying to eat sensibly, and meanwhile driving around hell and back to get new plates for the new car (yes, we bought a new car) and then a new parking sticker and then to Costco for vegetables and meat (so much meat!) and then home to make salmon for dinner and to play Apples to Apples with son and then drink wine while I did five weeks of my syllabus only to discover that the semester which has not yet begun is not moving fast enough.
Is it Fall Break yet?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Done with Crazy Relay!

I ran the Wasatch Back this weekend. While it was fun, it was also exhausting, mentally and physically. The strange part is that the best run this year was my worst one last year. Last year, I ran my second leg (Leg 17) in the early evening (maybe around 5 pm?). It was hot and the volunteers made me take the reflective vest and head lamp, even though the sun hadn't even started to go down. I threw this vest back into the van around mile 1, then had about 3 miles to go.
This year, I started the leg around 9:15 pm. The sun had started to go down, but it wasn't dark. The moon was up. I was running through some beautiful farm country. I was immediately passed by a young, extremely tall guy. But I did not fret. My plan was run slowly and just make it through.
It was lovely and awesome. My first run was 7.4 miles up Avon Pass. It was pretty, but hot. I asked strangers to spray me down with their spray bottles (and they did!). It was difficult, but I finished.
The second run was cool. The sun was down and there was a good breeze. I loved it. I passed a few people, always shouting out some encouragement as I did so. My favorite response was "good hustle" from a guy who had a perfect coach voice. He must have said that before.
I also am, basically, afraid to run in the dark. I don't have great depth perception and my night vision lacks clarity. But overall it was fun. The head lamp is good, because the biggest problem (I found) is seeing uneven pavement.
Overall, I have to say that the race was a success. I was only a little bitchy, and only at the end, after we had waited 6 hours for the other team to finish. The finish line was a cluster-cuss.
Now that I am home and well rested, life is good. I'm hoping to see a movie with Middlebrow and Son today. Then my life will be complete.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Hello Summer!

Summer offically starts now, since Son is out of school, the sun is shining, the roses are blooming, and, oh, etc!
What do I love about summer?
  • swimming outdoors
  • Farmer's market
  • Camping
  • Drinking coffee while camping
  • Smell of campfire
  • Warm sleeping bags
  • When someone else gets up and makes the coffee
  • Hiking
  • Trail running
  • Lakes at the end of hikes
  • Any food consumed at the end of a hike
  • Chilled wine
  • Our anniversary
  • Sedona 
  • Island Park
  • Idaho
  • Salad
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Homemade salsa
  • Market dinners
  • tomatoes & basil
  • BLTs
  • Cucumber salad
  • Pimms
  • Any kind of drink in the backyard
  • Iced tea
  • Red Butte Garden concerts
  • Sitting on a blanket in the grass 
  • cool mornings
  • cool evenings
  • evening walks with the family
  • casual bike rides around the hood (especially when they end with gelato)
  • music
  • the pool
  • Son reading in his bed
  • lazy days
Okay, maybe that's enough for now. What did I forget? 

Friday, June 04, 2010

Competition/Competitiveness (does not)= Bitch

First of all, I just like to use the word "bitch" in a title.
Second, I was/have been a bitch in the past and I'm trying to change my ways.
Third, I'm trying to understand how to be competitive without being a bitch. It's not easy, but one thing I've learned is that when I have little triumphs (first one done with the workout!), I need to celebrate them as much as I wallow in my little defeats (workout kicked my ass!).
The other thing which I continually say here (you're sick of it, I know) is that I need to remember that there will always (always! always! always!) be someone who is better than me, no matter what I'm doing, whether it's lifting weights or running or cooking or writing.
So I just have to get over myself and get on with it.
That, my friends, is what I'm going to do.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

My (3) Days of Single Motherhood

Well, Middlebrow went off to his fancy conference to eat and drink and be merry, leaving me to keep Son alive and make sure Gus the Dog doesn't eat more than his share of plastic ware.
So far, okay. According to Son, Dad lets him have unlimited soda and chocolate when I'm gone. My goal has been to allow him only one sugar snack per day. So far: I have failed. Yesterday, he had ice cream, then we had chocolate, and finally dessert at a party. Today our neighbor gave us doughnuts, then we had soda at the movie, and shared some M&Ms. Oye vey!
But so far my overwhelming feeling has been one of lessened expectations. I'm sure if I actually were a single mother, I'd just have to get used to the fact that my time was limited and adjust my schedule accordingly. But given that I'm only on my own for three days, I've used it as an excuse to just be okay doing nothing. "Nothing" in this scenario means nothing productive for myself or house related.
However, I have taken the dog to the park twice for a nice catch. Son & I went out for a relatively healthy dinner. Then I read.
It's nice to have a leisurely evening where I don't feel like I have to do anything, but maybe have a beer or read or something. And make sure Son takes a shower every few days and eats at least one or two vegetables along with his RDA of sugar.
Also, the second thing I've learned in my faux Single Motherhood is that I just have to do stuff. Truthfully, I let many chores fall to Middlebrow (as he does with me, see: cooking, laundry, etc.). But when he's gone, I say to myself, well, I guess I'm just going to have to do that. And then I do. Sometimes.
We'll see if I follow through and actually mow the lawn tomorrow. I think I can, I think I can...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Shoulder Has A Message for Me

I got a massage yesterday from a kick ass Crossfit massage woman. She also does energy work (shh! Don't tell Middlebrow, the skeptic!). 
So when she worked her way over to my left shoulder she said, "Your shoulder has an attitude." Yeah, uh, tell me something I don't know! This is the shoulder that I injured in college (produce department injury) and which recently (January-March) prevented me from lifting heavy weight overhead, doing pull ups or push ups. 
Then she said, "Your shoulder has a message for you."
Here is what my shoulder wanted to say. Apparently these are the negative attitudes my shoulder has been holding on to:
  • blaming circumstance for what I am
  • feeling that life has been hard on me
  • pessimistic beliefs about my life
  • feeling martyred and bitter
  • lacking insight into myself and my workings
  • having no self-esteem
  • liver and gall-bladder problems
I accept the challenge to:
  • take responsibility for myself and my actions
  • create a positive reality for myself
  • know that I am growing with every experience
  • be able to help others through my own learning
  • empower myself through self-responsibility
So obviously my shoulder and I need to communicate more. We have some things to work out this summer. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

If This is Summer, I Must be Happy

What is going on? Absolutely nothing!
My daily schedule includes cooking meat (three kinds today, oh wait, make that 4), eating, working out (two times), trying to submit writing (on-line) and only submitting two things before deciding that it's hard and time consuming, culling through books and dividing them into piles: give away, home office, school office and What book is this? Who brought this into the house?
Also: cleaning the tub (isn't that someone else's job?), worrying (definitely my job) and trying not to obsess (about selling the house, not writing, running).
I somewhat successfully freed my run by running without music or a watch. I had a sort of route which went to a friend's place of work (running store) and back in a kind of loop that I thought was probably about 3 miles. It was more and I know this because though I "freed" my run from accessories I can't not know what I ran even if I don't know how long it took me. So I mapped it. But it was mostly free from obsession, so that's good.
As I was trying to submit stuff on-line I thought: who will even read it, even if one of these places takes it? It was my stab at not caring, because I forget to submit stuff. I don't think I've submitted stuff since the fall.
But it's sunny! Welcome summer! Please stay for more than one day!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

End of the Semester Musings

Apparently the last day of classes, or what I like to call "surf the internet while students turn in final projects" day, leaves me way too much time to think and watch videos of Crossfit exercises on-line.
Some of my musings:
  • If I were going to get a tattoo, what would it be?
  • How long will it take me to get my kipping pull-up back?
  • Why are chocolate donuts so delicious?
  • Why am I so hungry?
  • Why do students seem so surprised by their not-passing grades?
  • Will my hallmate ever stop whistling or will I have to stab him in the throat with a plastic fork?
  • What should my Crossfit nickname be? (I'm thinking "Biyotch!")
  • Why are vegetable serving sizes so small (1 serving of lettuce = 3 g of carbs? I think not!) and all other serving sizes so big (20 oz sodas?)?
  • Will students ever learn the differences between it's/its and their/there/they're?
  • How long does one have to stare at a "final project" before it is considered graded?
Feel free to post your own musings and potential answers to comments. 

Saturday, April 03, 2010

April is National Poetry Month!

My compatriot, Hightouchmegastore, and I will be posting daily poems (for as long as we can keep it up!) over at our poem a day blog.
I'm working on a series of prose poems, Postcards from London. I've posted two of the ones I've written over there already. April is a good kick in the butt for me to finish these. I'm hoping they can become a chapbook at some point.
Please visit us over there during the month.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

"Against [her] own best time"

Well, it is April now, and National Poetry Month, so why not a post that takes a line from a poem?
I've been thinking of this line from Sharon Olds' poem "Sex Without Love" but totally out of context.
Yes, you naysayers and skeptics, it DOES have to do with Crossfit, thanks for asking.
Because, as you know, Crossfit workouts are usually timed, so, ostensibly, one competes against her neighbors and compatriots. But...BUT what she, one, I am actually competing against is "my own best time" meaning, I'm just competing against myself.
Of course, in the poem, Olds thinks this is a bad thing, because she compares it to sex without love. I won't comment on that, but she disparages runners because they "know they are alone." I love running and one of the reasons I love/d it was because it was something I did alone. I didn't need a gym or a partner to do it.
But I love Crossfit for the opposite reason. I do need a community, a coach, a competitor to do it. However, I also need to be reminded (like, every day) that I am not in competition with everyone or even anyone. Other people can make good motivators, the clock can kick you into action, but ultimately it is you against your own best time. And, I might add, your own standards.
I made myself redo two push ups today because I wasn't happy with my form. So. It's not enough to do it fastest, to do it best. You have to do it right.
That's some zen shit.
Happy Poetry Month!

Sex Without Love

How do they do it, the ones who make love
without love? Beautiful as dancers,
gliding over each other like ice-skaters
over the ice, fingers hooked
inside each other's bodies, faces
red as steak, wine, wet as the
children at birth whose mothers are going to
give them away. How do they come to the
come to the come to the God come to the
still waters, and not love
the one who came there with them, light
rising slowly as steam off their joined
skin? These are the true religious,
the purists, the pros, the ones who will not
accept a false Messiah, love the
priest instead of the God. They do not
mistake the lover for their own pleasure,
they are like great runners: they know they are alone
with the road surface, the cold, the wind,
the fit of their shoes, their over-all cardio-
vascular health--just factors, like the partner
in the bed, and not the truth, which is the
single body alone in the universe
against its own best time.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

That Time of Year...

Yes, friends, it's that time of year when your hosts, Dr. W & MB, once again contemplate the Happiness Index, the size of house to sanity ratio, the craziness of The Dog, the muddiness of the yard and all things locational.
Should we move?
Should we get a new(er) car?
Should we start stuffing money under the mattress, you know, just in case?
Should we reseed the yard or just pave it over?
Should we plant a garden?
Do we need a bigger house or should we take a trip to Ireland?
Do we need a newer car?
Should I get a new bicycle?
Should we add on?
Should we get a shipping container, put it in the backyard and turn it into My Office?
What, friends, Should we do?

Monday, March 22, 2010

In Which I am Not Myself

She thought that Mondays after Spring Break should be reserved for Intensive Coffee Drinking and Other Forms of Relaxing, such as Not Lecturing and Not Teaching. Even Going to the Doctor seemed preferable to Talking to A Room of Students Not in Attendance. Collecting Papers seemed a task invented in one of the lower Circles of Hell, possibly the Circle in which Administrators languished, no doubt Drinking Coffee and Inventing Other Tasks, such as Assessment and Teacher Evaluations. Grading Papers, she knew, was a task reserved for Some Other Day, certainly not Today.
No, Today was Monday. Today was the Day for Not Being Ones Self, wholly, but somehow Partially and in jeans, no less. Today was Monday, the day invented by those who, obviously, do not Toil but only Work, whatever that means. Today was the day the Students, by which she means those registered for the class not necessarily those who Show Up, thought was Optional, which they understood to mean Not Required, just like the Papers they Didn't Turn In, which, frankly, was like A Lot of Other Things this semester.
Oh yes, the Monday after Spring Break is a special kind of Monday. A Monday which needs Vodka Drinks and other things, like Chocolate and possibly Cookies and definitely Alcohol to be Gotten Through, by which she means endured until Passing Out which, in her opinion, is the only acceptable conclusion to the Monday After Spring Break.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Confused People

She goes to a movie in the afternoon. Apparently, this is the time that the confused people also go to the movies. She did not know this.
The confused people cannot find seats quickly, they do not understand that the movie theater has two aisles. They do not understand the concept of whispering or holding all questions until the end.
The movie, as such, is not confusing. But the confused people, confused as they are, do not know when the movie starts, so they enter the movie ten minutes after it has begun. This adds to their confusion.
When the plot twists, as it does, it does so visually. This confuses the confused people.
After the movie, the confused people wander the cineplex, asking questions of those who appear less confused, or not confused at all.
You were in there, weren't you? The movie with the couple?
Yes, she says. I saw the movie.
What about the woman with the baby, the confused people ask.
You mean the woman with children? When she opens the door?
The confused people nod.
Wasn't she in a couple with that man? Why did she have a baby?
Yes, she says. She was a couple with that man. But she was also married. She was part of two couples.
The confused people display confusion on their faces. We are confused, their expressions say. We are the confused people.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

On Writing and Exercise Addiction

So the problem with Facebook...okay, you're right, ONE of the problems with that everybody knows what you're doing. So say, if you, meaning me, if I am working out a lot every body knows it. Nothing wrong there, right? It keeps me connected to my Crossfit buddies, keeps me honest.
However. Right. However...
Then, when one goes out, meaning gets asked, "How's your writing going?" And then if one says, well, you's not great. I don't really have time to know, the grading. Then. Then my friends, you know, the asker, the asker says, "Well, you have time to work out. You're always lifting weights and running." To which one says what? What, I ask, does one say?
Well. What I did say was, "Well, working out is social! It's fun! And writing...." I trailed off.
And then today, after working out (note: not writing) I felt great. I felt high. I felt amazing. And I thought, how often does writing make me feel great? I've felt great after writing maybe two times, maybe three times that I can remember. Most of the time writing makes me feel inadequate and sub par. Less than. Terrible. Affirmation that I am, in fact, not a very good writer. I would say 9 out of 10 writing sessions make me feel adequate or less than.
But Crossfit. Well. The opposite. I would say 9 out of 10 workouts make me feel great. I say after each workout, Wow! I lifted that! I did 35 deadlifts and 35 hang cleans and 35 front squats and 32 push jerks. That's amazing. I kick ass. And I feel good all day.
So today, I did find an hour. And I wrote in a coffee shop. I wrote about 1,500 words. Not bad. I went back over the stuff I had written and it wasn't bad. But did I feel adrenaline coursing through my veins? No. Did I feel like I had just accomplished great things? Sort of.
Writing my friends, is a lonely, lonely business. It's not social, and it has very few (if any) immediate rewards.
The key, I guess, to repeat myself, is balance. Can't I do both? Can't I Crossfit and write? And can't I keep updating my FB status with workout stats? Please?

Monday, March 01, 2010

Inspiration: A Reflection

This weekend at the Crossfit Utah/Nevada Sectionals, I witnessed super human feats of strength. I saw people do incredible things that I'm sure they didn't think they could do.
The people who impressed me the most were the women my age, the mothers, the petite women who don't look like they can lift 100 pounds over their heads, but they can.
As much as I could, I tried to tell those women how inspiring they are to me. It's strange, and I can't explain it, but watching them made me feel great. I felt great because they are so strong. Like I said, I'm not sure why, but there is something about Crossfit that just makes me feel great about other people's accomplishments.
My favorite moment was judging the last workout. It was a brutal 750 m row, 30 Double unders, 15 burpees, 4 rounds. For men, the cut off time was 25 minutes. I was judging a guy from Las Vegas and he had less than a minute to do his last set of burpees. But he did it, finishing the last five burpees in less than 15 seconds, with a time of 24:58. The crowd erupted, cheering and clapping.
That's what I love about Crossfit. It's not about winning. It's about effort. He gave it his all.
I also loved the forty-something woman who did her weighted pullups (10 # vest) one at a time, but each one was perfect.
Most inspiring to me, however, was my nutritionist, who had a baby in October. She was amazing, finishing 7th out of 43 women, many of whom are younger than her. Watching her finish the prowler event (deadlifts, push a weighted prowler, overhead squats) made me cry.
I'm super inspired by this weekend. Can't wait to get back to the gym.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

This Week in Crossfit

Yeah, I deadlifted 225.
Now my butt hurts.
Today, there will be running (or at least "a" run) outside, as well as rowing, double unders, burpees, box jumps.
But, the lesson I learned this week was from watching other people. It's like grade school, when you get bored, and then you look over to see what someone else is doing. Hey, what answer does she have? But, unfortunately, Crossfit doesn't work that way. It doesn't matter what anyone else is doing.
Why is Person X so much faster than me? Maybe she's doing knee push ups, or maybe she's sacrificing form for time. But who cares.
Because it's only about what I'm doing.
Since I hurt my shoulder, I've had to slow down, concentrate on form. Think while doing. On Monday, I had to do 26 pushups by doing 26 sets of 1 push up. After each one, I thought about my shoulders, made sure they were in the correct position, then did the next one. I was painfully slow. But the pushups were not painful.
The lesson I learned, ergo, (and again, I might add), is Forget Everyone Else. It's not a race. It's about what I'm doing, compared to what I have done or can do.
As James, the trainer, would say, That's some Zen shit.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Movies = Good

I don't really have anything to say (not a good start to a blog post, perhaps), but I needed to get that Death post out of here. On to happier things!
Middlebrow and I, somehow, against all odds, have actually watched a few movies lately, all of them good. "District 9," "Crazy Heart," and "The Class."
We are stuck somewhere, stylistically, between last year and, say, January. But we are catching up. We will never be caught up, but always, somewhere, in the process. The present progressive. The -ing.
Even when movies are bad, they are diverting. But after watching "The Class" last night, Middlebrow made some sweeping generalization that I agreed with, something about seeing movies like "The Class" and being turned off by Hollywood movies. Which is why, I told him, I will never see "Avatar."
Now, I've heard all your reasons, and they have been noted. But, and this is most important, do I really have 3 hours to waste on this movie? The answer, my friends, is no. There are many, many other movies I need to see and books I need to read. So I will be skipping "Avatar."
Middlebrow, however, still plans on seeing it. For "research" purposes or whatever. But that is three hours I could fill otherwise. Like seeing that stupid Leap Year movie. I know, it will be stupid. But do I care? No, I do not.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dear Death, I am Against You

We don't know each other, though I have seen you before, in the fate of friends. I know you are an inevitable part of life, that I should just accept you, the way I accept rain and oxygen. And sometimes, I can accept that you are like rain, soft, necessary, productive. Without death, where would the cycle of life be?
No, death, I am not talking about your kinder, inevitable side. I'm talking about when you show up where you know you don't belong, in the lives of children, the young, the healthy. Where life could go on perfectly well without you.
I don't say this for myself, as I have been blessed in my life. No, I speak for friends whose lives you have shattered by arriving suddenly, seemingly without warning, wreaking havoc on perfectly lovely people who have done you no wrong.
Death, isn't it time for a lovely vacation, say maybe in some place cold and sparsely populated, some place where you couldn't hit anyone with your deadly glares because no one lives there? Some place not here, not near the people I love and care for.
Just take a break, death. I know, inevitable, cycle of life, yadda yadda yadda. You'll be back. We all know that. We know. We won't forget about you. It'd just be nice if we didn't have to be reminded of you each day, every day.
Death, we need a few days off.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Balance, On Seeking

Today, for the first time in a long time, I went to yoga. Now, most of you probably know that I have been doing Crossfit since April, and since I picked that up, the time I spend swimming and doing yoga has dwindled and finally disappeared.
But a recurring shoulder injury has forced me to slow down, to reassess what I do and why, and yes, how. I've been thinking about range of motion and flexibility. I'm stronger than I have ever been in my life. And leaner. But I'm less flexible. And now my shoulder doesn't work the way it should.
So I sought solace in yoga. I first started doing yoga in college, actually. It was a PE credit and it was fun, but it didn't change my life. I don't remember much about it except thinking that the thin, hippy-ish teacher was hitting on a friend of mine from women's studies. Then I started going again in Bellingham and got pretty into it. I went to a school there that was in Fairhaven. Then I did yoga with a friend in my studio apartment.
I've done yoga off and on here, searching for the right teacher, the right class. A few years ago, I went fairly often to a yoga class that is close to my house. I started going less when I started running and swimming, but still went once a week or so. Usually less. Then I started going to another studio because I like the guy who owns it. Then I started Crossfit.
When I started Crossfit, all my time and money went to that.
So I went today looking for some help with my injury. And there was less stretching in the class than I needed, but, as usual with yoga (for me at least) I heard what I needed to hear, namely the idea of Disconnecting. I've already held forth on this in the comments over at Counterintuitive's blog, but let me just hold forth here.
The idea of Disconnecting is that we are all over committed. We have schedules and we try to fill them. The idea of disconnecting is trying to lessen that, trying to unplug, leaving holes in our schedules. Free time. Remember that?
The other thing the teacher did was read a poem by Wendell Berry. The line she focused on was something about the grace of the world. What I took from her was the idea that the world is amazing, and we are always trying to fill our lives with activities, some of which distract us from the amazing-ness of the world. Why not try to just be idle for a while? A few minutes? An hour? And just be in the grace of the world.
It reminded me that I constantly struggle with myself, tell myself that I'm not doing enough, not being enough, not lifting enough, not writing enough, not spending enough time with Son, not reading enough, not doing enough for my students, not running enough.
Today I received the perfect reminder that it's okay to do nothing. It's okay to take time off from being amazing and just listen and look and breathe.
I think yoga may be the balance I need right now. Where Crossfit is intense, yoga is reflective. You can't rush through it. You have to be in it.
Good lesson.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Is Crossfit helping my brain?

I read (yesterday, from Tuesday's paper) this article "In Women, Training for a Sharper Mind," and it raised some interesting questions for me.
To whit: Does strength training change the brain somehow? OR, and this is my main question, OR is there something about strength training that changes the way we think?
For example, after doing some crazy hard workout like, let's say, Barbara,* I think, "Holy shit! How did I do that?" Then, later, after I have consumed a lot of water and protein, I think, "Wow! I did that." Then, even later, when confronted by some arduous task, I think, "Well, that might be a little hard. Sort of hard. But it's not as hard as Barbara!" And so then I do that task, which does not involve lifting weights, or doing pull ups, and I finish it.
I think, maybe, the study discussed above did involve some brain measuring, but all I can say is that, from personal, non-scientific experience, I would say, Yes. Crossfit helps my brain.

* FYI: Barbara is 20 pullups, 30 pushups, 40 sit ups, 50 squats. That doesn't sound too bad? Right. Oh wait, 5 rounds. Yeah. It took me 53 minutes. Ha!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

How To Party: The Crossfit Version

Having attended my first "real" Crossfit party, I now have a greater understanding of how to approach this beast, which is part entertainment, part athletic event. Here are some guidelines for those of you who may not have had the pleasure yet. This will help you know what to expect.

  1. Wear loose fitting pants, NOT because you are going to eat a lot, but because, at some point, someone will start doing a Crossfit exercise, pistols or burpees, and you will be called on to demonstrate what you do best, whether it be splits or handstand pushups or side crow,. Be prepared.
  2. Study up on military heroes, generals of past wars and obscure celebrities. Why? Because you may be called upon to describe this person in one or more words or to act out this person in a game of charades and this requires that you know who the person is when you read their name on a piece of paper. Just be sure you know which branch of the military is most popular among your Crossfit friends and study that branch. Also, sports heroes who are in the news for sleeping around appear prominently.
  3. Try to understand the nuances of all the different diets your friends are on. There's the paleo, the green face, the Zone, and variations of each wherein people eat no grains or some grains or no dairy or some dairy or no chocolate or some chocolate. Or just say fuck it and bring a big bag of Doritos and some beer (FYI: Doritos and beer are not paelo or zone or warrior).
  4. Bring your drinkin' stomach. You know that one person who kicks your ass every day at the gym? He/she can also drink you under the fucking table. Believe you me.
  5. After you have consumed more alcoholic beverages in more categories than you thought possible, be prepared for the feats of strength. These can include, but are not limited to: indian leg wrestling, burpees, push ups, handstand push ups and various body contortions that may or may not be based on yoga. The alcohol you consumed will help you relax into whatever uncomfortable positions you may find yourself in after getting beat down by your opponents.
  6. For every alcoholic beverage, drink two glasses of water. This may apply to all parties, but is especially important in this case, because no matter how much you drank, everyone will expect to see you at the gym, bright and early.
  7. Take some fish oil before you go to sleep. This applies to all nights, not just the one of the party. But after the party it might help you forget the injuries you sustained in the feats of strength.
  8. The next day, photos of you will appear. So just be sure that when you take off your shirt to display your guns, you know where all the cameras are.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

December: Not long enough ago to be nostalgic about

December, generally, is all about Christmas and my birthday. I don't have any pictures of Christmas. Perhaps they are still on the camera. You get my point. It just happened. Why review it?
Nonetheless, I had a picture of our rollerskating follies and I think the point of those pictures, though I did not take them myself, was: Look at my ass. Because, my friends, there is both less of it and more than before. I think one of my resolutions, though perhaps not stated to anyone but Middlebrow, was that I wanted to have a nicer ass. And, lo and behold, I think I do. It may seem vain to say that, not only did I want to be stronger, but I wanted it to look better. Am I vain? Very well then, I am vain.
What are my vanity goals for 2010? To be in better shape than in 2009. I can't help but succeed.

2009: October/November

One good thing about Thanksgiving weekend: friends come to town. Here are the Crossfit NRG girls with Natalie from CO.
This is what Thanksgiving is all about: Son ready to fill his gullet with turkey. Let's eat!
Rowathon. I had this crazy idea that I would row 100,000 miles. I rowed like 45,000. But hey, we had fun this day. Big fun.
The only pic I got at the pie party, which was before it started. Pie galore!! Jane and I in front of Tom Aaron's painting, that I got to "foster" but not keep, because I couldn't afford it. Sigh.
Halloween. Son is Shaggy. And apparently can't hold still for a photo.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2009: Fall. Ish.

Ross got a new bed at IKEA.
Went to Moab with the most awesomest ladies ever.
Did the Fight Gone Bad Fundraiser. Good Times!
Went fishing with my Dad and Son.
Hung out at a cabin next to a stream.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2009: Summer

Here's a picture from one of the highlights of June: The Wasatch Back. This is my colleague, the lovely and amazing Marianne, who runs faster than she has a right to.

This is the summer in reverse order, but whatever. This one is from August when we went to Arizona. Here we are with Nik.The other reason we went to AZ was to visit family and stay in Sedona. Gorgeous!
Remember this project: folly! Here I am digging and cursing.
My handsome boys at MB's best friend's wedding. Fun trip to CA.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I Interrupt Reflection on 2009 for a 2010 Update

So, over there on FB I mentioned the Crossfit Fitness Elevated Challenge that I participated in. Let me herein describe the insanity.
8:30 am Check-in
9:00 begin waiting.....
10:20 I do Workout #1: 500 m row + 440 m run = 3:51 I wasn't the first one off the rower, but I passed a few women on the run and finished 3rd in my heat. After this workout, I was 8th overall and first among the Masters Women (over 40).
10:40 more waiting...which involved drinking water, peeing, talking, checking standings, etc.
11:something... men's heats for Workout #2 begin
12:10 ish I do Workout #2: 90 seconds work/30 seconds rest for the following four exercises clean and jerk (75#) + ring pushups + front squats (75#) + burpees = 66 I was disappointed, but apparently I was doing ring pushups incorrectly, so they took some of mine away (half to be exact) and so I fell, dramatically, in the standings. This bummed me out. Okay, it was totally demoralizing.
12:30 more waiting...during which I tried to eat and felt like I would throw up. I drank coconut water and a protein shake and had an orange and some almonds.
more waiting...
1 something: new heats are announced, with top people going against each other, women going first
1:25 First womens heat of Workout #3: My friend is in this heat and I see just how difficult workout three will be. They cut people off after 18 minutes.
1:45 or so: I do workout number 3: run 440m + 10 deadlifts (135) + 20 24" box jumps + 30 kettlebell swings (16K) + 40 wall balls (14 lbs/ 9 feet)+ 50 m weighted walking lunges (25# plate) + 400 m run = 14:43.
I was pretty happy with my performance in this workout, though the 50 m weighted walking lunges were the hardest thing ever. And then having to run after? Forget it!
Overall, I finished 14th out of 25 women and 2nd out of the 4 Masters women.
I am glad I did it, not sure I'll ever do anything like that again.
I'm pretty sure I'm still operating under a calorie deficit.
After the women finished, the men finished, and the award ceremony was held just before 5.
We went out to dinner and I got home around 8, having been gone from my house since 8. Son didn't seem to notice. I could barely hold my head up, but did take a shower and talk to MB for awhile. Then I fell into a deep, deep sleep. I slept for 11 hours.
I'm still hungry.