How long do you wait until you know it is time to quit?

Some things you might think you want are so much more difficult to acquire, you find the work/effort to achieve it is not worth the arrival at the end goal. But how do you know if quitting is the right thing or if working harder is the right thing?

This past week, I got more double unders than I had ever dreamed of. I got three in a row (if you let me count a double under, a single under, a double under, a single under, and a double under without stopping as “in a row”). I did try a fourth one and missed, but I got three – twice.

A few years ago, I decided I would just not worry about this part of the CrossFit world. I don’t really HAVE to do double unders. They aren’t necessary for my continued life and they were making me cranky.

So I quit trying. I didn’t quit CrossFit, but I did give up on this particular skill. And I carried on with my other challenges and did single unders and was happy.

Then my CrossFit closed and I joined a new gym and the coach at this place thinks I can do double unders. And I tried – again. I’m more agile. I have more core strength. I still have a crappy heart rate issue. But rather than start out here as a complete whiner, I chose to show her how I couldn’t do double unders. And I did them.

Then I did them two at a time. And then, this week – sick and having been away for nearly a month – I got three strung together.

It’s not like I woke up one morning and decided that getting double unders was important to me. But now that I’ve gotten a bit better at them, I wouldn’t mind getting more.

That doesn’t mean I have given up on my total commitment to NOT doing other things. I will not climb a rope. I don’t trust myself to be 15 feet in the air and have my arms give out. If I fall from that height and break my hip, I’m done with CrossFit forever. I don’t want to risk that for something that I’ve lived 65 years without doing and see no reason to start now.

I also have to contend with my age-induced limitations. I’m not as young as I used to be and can say with a straight face “my cardiologist says” which is something I would never have dreamed would come out of my mouth. But here we are; me old and with a cardiologist.

This means I will not be running any great distances because my cardiologist says I’m not to get my heart rate over mid-160s and I never really go over mid-170s (and the charts say I should be stopping somewhere around mid-140s). And when I run even 400 meters or a quarter mile, my heart rate is too high. So even a half mile is out of the question. Not because I don’t want to run, but because it might literally kill me.

Knowing when to back away is key to continued happiness. Knowing when to give it a break and when to give it one more try is a skill. Knowing what isn’t important to you, what you can completely let go of, is what makes happiness possible.

And so, double unders are a go while rope climbs aren’t going to happen. I won’t even try for the sake of not being whiney. It is just not going to happen. I’m okay with that. I do many awesome things, especially for an old fart. I don’t have to do the things I’m completely against doing. In fact, it would be a waste of my time and energies. It doesn’t meet any lifelong goal. It isn’t going to ever make a difference. It has the possibility of harming me all while not giving any benefit at all.

So, without meeting any of my goals – long or short term – it is unnecessary for me to try to climb that particular mountain. I need to save myself for the other ones out there, the ones that are possible and have my interest.



If you want something, you have to earn it. You have to go out and get the things you want. There is no fairy godmother or genie in a bottle granting your every wish. Only you can grant your wishes. And you have to earn it.

I am a gym rat. I have been for over five years. I knew I was taking time off to go and visit my sister. It came at an auspicious time. My right knee was bothering me something fierce and my IT band was super tight. Taking a couple weeks off was going to be my time to heal and recover.

My knee continued to hurt throughout most of my time in Arizona. It was still catching if I left it bent too long even after I got home, although it was no longer painful and didn’t try to crumple when I walked.

I got home just before midnight on Thursday. I could have gone to the gym the next morning but I had a list of excuses a mile long. I was still two hours early from my travels, I was exhausted from my travels, my knee was still bothersome. I simply couldn’t make myself go and do an Open workout after being off for two weeks.

And then on Saturday, I got sick. I couldn’t even get out of bed on Monday. By Thursday I thought of going to the gym but was so lightheaded that it was really stupid and self defeating. Friday, another Open workout on the menu (maybe – I really don’t know if this gym does that or not). I was barely able to take a ten minute walk the day before so 800 jump ropes might be a bit excessive. I stayed home.

I increased my walk each day, going both longer distances and at a faster pace. I was ready to start over again today.

Last night I went to sign up for my class time. The app wouldn’t let me. I can go from normal person to victim of catastrophe in 0.76 nanoseconds and this was no different. I immediately came up with catastrophic events. The most common one was that the place closed down. I know they are struggling financially. I shouldn’t know that as a customer, but I do. And all I could think was they had to close.

I’ve been doing sport stuff on and off since I was 27 (38 years ago) and in all that time, I’ve never prepaid for a long term membership. I paid monthly, month after month. Right up until this time. I purchased a 15 month membership and am paid in full until the end of March 2019. And all I could think of was all that money gone and what would I do and where would I go and how was I going to continue working out.

Amazingly enough, this did not lead up to a good night’s sleep. Already sleep deprived from the daylight time switch, and tired from worrying about nothing, I got up when the alarm went off and got ready to find out what the hell had happened. (There was a problem with the app and they are supposed to update my credentials and fix this some time today.)

There were cars in the parking lot so that was a great thing. I went in and tried to sign up for my class (I have a special membership which costs more so that I can do the CrossFit type workouts with a coach) and was unable to do so. I went back to the dark little room where we work out and the coach and one other person were in there. They were happy to see me and asked how vacation was.

When I told them it was fine but I had been sick since returning, they were concerned about the flu. I assured them it was more respiratory and they seemed delighted. That made no sense. The flu isn’t killing people, it’s the respiratory stuff, but since they were happy, I just tried not to cough on anyone.

Luckily, the strength portion was light back squats and I could manage the 5 x 5 at 55-60% without any problems. I did wear my extra knee support and even now my knee is fine.

Then it was four different Tabatas. Each four minutes/eight rounds was a different move. Wall balls made me really dizzy so I took out the full squat and just did a dip. The planks were tiring but what the hell. The burpees sent me spinning and I actually missed two rounds to try to recover. The inverted hollow body rolls were new to me and I was tired and spent and barely managed some.

My goal for the day was to survive. I was scared to return because I had been gone for 3.5 weeks and old people lose so much so quickly and regain things so slowly. And I didn’t even know if they were really still there. All in all, getting back at it has been wonderful. I’m blissfully tired. Nothing hurts too much. I feel like I actually accomplished something. It wasn’t nearly as hard as starting the first time, but unlike the first time, I sorta knew what I was getting into. And that’s exactly why I went.


You can’t miss what you still have and when it’s missing, it’s gone. I’m usually healthy as a horse. I’m drug free in America and at age 65, this is pretty remarkable. I eat a relatively healthy diet, although I’m partial to bacon, chocolate, and coffee. My bacon intake is as a reward for working out and my coffee consumption is high but lower than it used to be. I can make a serving of chocolate last for days, but I have a small bit of chocolate every day. Balance. At least that’s what I call it.

Even before I began CrossFit, I didn’t sit all day. I’ve done a variety of other things. For years I played racquetball and I’ve done water aerobics and tried Curves. I walked miles and miles through my neighborhood. I had some fairly active jobs in my lifetime as well.

For the last five years, I’ve been doing CrossFit three to five times a week. I’ve gained a lot of balance, core strength, and confidence along with a certain amount of self deprecating awareness. I would love to have heavier lifts of everything and maybe a pull-up or more stamina. I know how far I’ve come and I know how high away the mountaintop still is. I’m not even talking about CrossFit Open winner mountaintops, but my own – the things I can still accomplish with dedication and persistence.

I’m in pretty good shape for an old fart. Actually, I’m in pretty good shape. Full stop. I can do many things amazingly well. For instance, I was walking and didn’t realize I should be climbing down a stair. I didn’t fall over. I planted and held my balance, barely even missing a beat as I kept talking. I open my own jars. I carry in all the groceries at one time. I move furniture by myself.

It isn’t always easy. It is always worth it. I have worked hard for years to get to this place and I have no intention of quitting any time soon.

Now, all I need to do is get over this current illness so I can be healthy again. An acute illness is a terrible inconvenience. I’ve come to terms with the chronic nature of aging and all that means. But the indignity of being taken out by a virus … well, it’s crushing.

I will never be twenty again. I won’t even be forty or fifty again. I’m just an old fart raging against the night, refusing to go quietly. I will be back at the gym soon. I don’t know if they will be grateful for that, but I will.


I have been sick. I traveled and flew and caught a cold. It knocked me out for four days. I slept and tried to find food and drink in between my naps. And then I slept some more and wallowed in self pity. I coughed and coughed and went through an entire box of Kleenex. My throat was raw, my stomach hurt, my head was spinning, and I felt miserable and kept thinking about all the people who died from the not flu going around this year.

This was not a pleasant few days. I began to feel a bit better. I napped less. I coughed less. I ate more. I was on the mend.

I’m still not good enough to have my entire life back. I haven’t eaten enough for days now and I’m still light headed when I first stand. But I’m getting better. And that’s the issue.

Sitting in my chair, bored and restless, I think I can do the things. Whatever the things might be. Yesterday, I decided I deserved some fresh, clean sheets after all that sleeping stuff. So I began. Well, once the dirty sheets are off the bed, something has to go back on. This was arduous. I had to rest part way through. But it got done and I had clean sheets, so apparently I was able to do this. But in the middle it seemed a bit of an overstep.

I haven’t been to the gym for three weeks. I really wanted to go today. But I knew it was really stupid. First, I might still be contagious and no one needs my germs. Second, I still can’t breathe right and breathing is pretty important in the weightlifting world. And lastly, I haven’t eaten a right since Saturday. And that was a bunch of junk food. So I’m not really sure when I last ate right, but probably Friday.

Going was a bad idea. I knew it was a bad idea and I had the good sense to listen to myself. But now I feel sluggish. And while my head spins, my heart wants to do something – anything – other than sit around doing nothing for another day.

It’s going to be up to me to set an achievable goal for myself today. I think the goal is going to be to get outside and take a walk. I don’t know how far I should go, but perhaps when I begin I will have a better measure of that. But I do need to get outside. I also need to arm myself with Kleenex and water and be prepared to walk slower than normal.

It is up to me to make today an improvement over the last few. The viruses are on the run, my body has appropriately responded. But the war isn’t over and I need to make sure my push to move doesn’t hamper the overall effort of ridding my system of this vile virus.

The sun is shining. It is chilly out there. I need to be self aware. But I also need to be proactive in my mental recovery as well. I need to move, but not too much. I need fresh air, but not too long. I need to find the balance and make choices reflecting some not-so-stupid ideas. I need to inch my way forward so I can get to the gym. Monday.


Pam got me to the airport with very light traffic along the way. I hate leaving but I need to get home. I already miss my sister and I’m just to the gate.

I entered the door that said American Airlines but it really was down the road a bit but I followed the signs and got to American at which point I asked where I needed to be to check my bag. The person helpfully told me over there where I couldn’t miss it. So I went over there and had to ask someone else who was a bit more snippy in telling me where the kiosks were over there where they were hidden, but if you walked right up to them, you could see them.

I approached and tried to read the directions but some man had to help me anyway. So much for reading comprehension or perhaps it was poor writing. Then I had to pay for my suitcase to fly with me. I put my card in all four possible ways – twice. It printed me out a slip that said it couldn’t read my card. So I stood in line and then had to go over to Becky for help.

Becky informed me that the credit card readers were very picky and I needed to do use them just right. I told Becky I never wanted to work for the airline. She then informed me that all airlines were going to this convenience and I replied that the airlines should then make sure the kiosks worked. She admitted it was an issue and no one really liked it but was able to get my luggage permission to travel. She then pointed me back to the line I had already stood in once so that I could get my luggage on an actual plane.

I looked for the love Precheck thing on my flight out here and it was absent. But today, there it was, gloriously green on my cute little phone app boarding pass. So I got to get in the short line. I got to leave my shoes and jacket on. I got to leave my electronics stowed away. When I asked the TSA agent what I needed to do about food, he said “share it”. So American Airlines irritated me and then the TSA made me smile. That’s not what I expected.

I wanted to get something to eat and right next to my gate was a dining opportunity so I got in the line with the food that looked like the best option. I got a very expensive hot dog and when she asked what I wanted to drink, I said coffee but I didn’t know where to get that. They stopped serving coffee at 10 so I had to go next door to get into yet another line to get the coffee. I needed to wait for my order to come up. The guy in front of me got food. It wasn’t right and so things went askew. Two people behind me got food. So I went up and asked if they forgot me and then, poof, there was my food under the warming light.

I took my hot dog to the next line and got to the coffee dispenser and got my coffee which had the cream added for me and yet was pretty close to what I would have added by myself.

Here I sit at the gate, typing with my Bluetooth keyboard on my tablet. I have no way to upload this now, but I can save it for later. So that’s a good thing.

I’m sure there will be more adventures today and many more lines to stand in. Good thing I went to preschool these past two weeks and learned this valuable and often used technique.

I was amazed by the number of people who waited until they got to the airport to do important things. One lady was having difficulty letting her bank know she was leaving the country and to please not disable her credit card while she was away from home. One would have thought she knew she was leaving the country prior to arriving at the airport and could have taken care of this important thing in a more conducive location.

Two other women needed to download the airline’s app to be able to stream video while aboard the plane. They didn’t actually know how to find apps, download them, or activate them after downloading so perhaps doing this at home was beyond the scope of their travel plans. But they sure were cranky about not having the app.

Boarding was easy even though the plane was full and “might” have been overbooked. I have no idea how the airline didn’t know how many tickets they sold or how often people buy tickets and then don’t fly, but it was only a possibility. They did not ask for volunteers to stay behind so they apparently worked this all out without customer intervention.

One of the flight attendants was an older gentleman. The beverage cart was parked right next to me and he was standing at my shoulder when another flight attendant began to ask for some Chardonnay. No one seemed to have the right type of wine and the guy said, “What difference can it make. They all come out of a plastic bottle.”

The rest of the flight was uneventful. I never spoke to the guy sitting next to me until after we landed. My app was not showing my next boarding pass. I had some trouble with it on the way out but after we got to the gate, it worked for me. This time, it didn’t. I closed the app and restarted it and it was still cranky. So I asked the guy if he knew anything more than me.

He had me restart it again, and then we found a few more options and I could click here and there and get the next boarding pass to show up. That was really helpful since it is the only way I had to get onto the next plane. I figured if something else happened, some of the staff could help me. Maybe. One would hope.

But it appeared and it told me my next gate would be C14. I got off the plane and there was a sign, C15 and up was that way and C1-13 was the other way. There was no C14 and as I turned around in the hope of getting some better information, there was the sign for the gate. It was C14. I have never gotten off the plane at the gate where I was going to get back on the next plane.

But here I am with a couple hours to spare. I’m charging up my tablet and killing some time. I can wander off in a while and get some food. The next flight out of this gate is to DC so I have time to move about as I want. That’s so much better than running around the entire airport looking for a gate miles away.

I ate Auntie Annie’s cinnamon pretzel bites and these did not contain any pepperoni, so that was really good. I got my electronics all charged up or at least as much as they would charge. I got on the crowded plane and let the guy in the middle seat just move over to the window and we laughed and I told him all the seats got to the same destination and I didn’t really care where I sat. So the lady across the aisle wanted to sit next to her boyfriend/husband and asked if I would switch seats with her, too. So I again changed my seat. Then I settled in and flew home.

We landed early and that was great. Then the wait for luggage started and apparently they hire sloths or maybe snails to get the luggage removed from the planes late at night when there is no need to get the plane turned around and back out again quickly. So it took over a half hour for the luggage to appear, but it finally did.

Dick came and got me and I was too wired to sleep anyway, so I unpacked everything and put it all away, except for the luggage itself. Now I’m back home. I set my alarm with the possibility of showing up for CrossFit this morning but I just couldn’t manage to really go. I will have to start fresh next week and get back to that part of my life.

Thank you, Pam, for sharing your life with me these two weeks. We did so many fun things and had so much time to laugh and breathe the same air. I can’t wait for summer when all three of us get to be together again. But this was really good, too. Hugs and kisses to my big, gracious, generous, loving sister.

It’s been very busy here. Yesterday was preschool day. It was also parade day, which was supposed to have happened last week, but was postponed due to inclement weather. So this was the big day. We practiced for the event which was to take place when the parents came to pick up the little darlings. This was a new way to parade around and so there was much deliberation and input from various adults in attendance. We decided on procedure and then returned inside.

Then there was some play time while Pam and I worked with the kids on their flag painting extravaganzas. They had painted a flag, their picture was added and what they liked about the Presidents Day Parade event. On the back was a paper with what the flag’s colors symbolized. Pam and I made up what to do with this part and may have chosen poorly. We had the kids drawing circles around the red, white, and blue with red, white, and blue crayons. This was on white paper so we confused the little kids with this middle color.

The big moment arrived and out marched the bedecked munchkins to a crowd of waiting parents armed with cameras and video options. The kids got to their chairs, and the rose to say a poem that led in to the Pledge of Allegiance. They then sang “It’s a Grand Old Flag” while marching and waving their flags and it was all extremely patriotic and totally adorable.

We then packed up and came home but had to stop at the grocery store on the way because the day before it was announced there would be block party today at 4 PM. We looked for recipes and came up with something to make for the party. Almost instant pierogies. We stuff large pasta shells with cheesy mashed potatoes and layered them between sautéed onions before baking. What we really didn’t properly think through was the number of large pans which would need to be used all at once to make this dish.

We managed and got them made and they were delicious. The kitchen was in total disarray, and pans were everywhere, but they were so good, I plan on making them myself when I get home. There were lots of imaginary people at the block party (see picture below) and we had a great time.

We got home and Emery was picked up and taken home. We had enough time to catch our breath before we headed over to the Monte Vista ballroom for the last event of the day. Neon Circus (a Brooks & Dunn cover band) played for 90 minutes. They did a great job and it was a wonderful show. Rain had been forecast all day but kept not happening until it was time to walk back home in the dark. We each had our phones turn into flashlights and walked home in the cold drizzle.

I was pooped from this much activity. I barely even do one thing a day and here was three events all in one day. I went to bed early.

This is my last day here in Arizona. It started with us going to church to make rosaries. We made nine this week. We went to Sprouts so I could get some chocolate raspberry coffee and they didn’t have any. I got a sad but did not pout too much. We are making homemade chicken noodle soup and Jen is bringing the family over so I get a chance to see the kids again, this time without a whole raft of strangers included.

The last load of laundry is in the dryer so I can pack up clean clothes to take home. Tomorrow we drop Emery off at preschool and then drop me off at the airport. I hate the end of sister time.

Pam’s amazingly lifelike imaginary friends

Back to our regular week. Except it isn’t regular at all since I’m still in Arizona with my sister. I have been loving this time in the frozen land of Arizona, watching the temperatures being mild and wonderful back home. I haven’t yet needed my Capri pants or any short sleeves. I’ve worn my jackets and my cape and been chilly. And when I get home, the cold temps here will have reached the other coast and I will be chilly there, too. I’m saving these thoughts for the next time I visit and it is 117 degrees out there.

We started the day with our euchre group and I was supposed to be the fifth person and not play. Pam and I would switch seats and make it work. But the fourth regular player had family in town and they were visiting other family and she was not there. So I played again. Once again it was Pam and Carol against Cindy and me. They won the first game and then we won the next two. We were supposed to stop there, but we didn’t. We opted for two more games and they won the fourth but then, like a phoenix (did you see what I did there?) rising from the ashes, we won the last one. Cindy likes to win as much as I do. It was fun.

Emery liked the idea of playing a game and wanted to play Left, Right, and Center. As Nanas who forgot the word “no” we were going to play. The game lives in that box. But it wasn’t there. And it wasn’t anywhere else, either. We looked. For a very long time and in every conceivable space. No game. Whiny kid. Lunch time. We ate and then, because Nanas do this we made a special trip to Target to go and buy the third copy of this game. Pam can’t wait to find the other two which are hidden some very odd place in the house.

We played five times with Pam winning once, me twice, and Emery twice. And then slave driver Nana put the kid to work. So that Nana thing doesn’t work all the time. We changed the house over from Valentine’s Day to St. Patrick’s Day. At my house, this means I put away the decorated placemat and put out another one. At this house, it is an all afternoon event and only because there were three of us working.

The outside and inside of the house are all green now instead of the red they were when I arrived. The refrigerator is all full of green Irish magnets, the indoor tree is full of shamrocks, and the outside is now Emerald Isle from top to bottom and front to back. The centerpiece on the dining room table went from hearts to clovers (I don’t think she decorates with diamonds or spaded for some other season, but you never know cuz she really likes playing cards.)

We each had our own little Cornish hen for dinner. We had roasted potatoes and sautéed mushrooms and asparagus to go with it. We looked like barbarians at the gate trying to eat this lovely meal. We were messy which is quite the understatement. It was delicious, but we didn’t exactly win the Miss Manners Award for grace at the table. We laughed a lot.

Pam went for a walk and I stayed back here. When she got home, we got into the Cheesecake Factory desserts. They were both delicious and there is more to come. Mine is white chocolate macadamia nut and Pam’s is Adam’s chocolate peanut butter (I don’t know who Adam is or was). Luckily we can persevere and have more of that stuff today.

After all the decorating, Pam was very tired and went to bed early. And I soon followed. It was another lovely day – and the first time I went outside without a coat or jacket on, but then again, I was working on the home décor.

There was still more to come, but this is when I got the picture taken.

She loved wearing this hat, but it tended to fall off frequently.

She wouldn’t let me take her picture a few days ago. Now, all beautiful smiles.