November 2013


On a more positive note.

I purchased a small (11 pound) turkey to cook today. We love turkey and the stuffing I’ve been making for forty years now. I have no idea how I was brave enough to offer to cook dinner that first year we were married, but everything turned out and I have been using the same recipe for stuffing ever since. And of course, we wanted sticky buns and so I made a half batch of those for just us, too.

I found a recipe the other day for a vegetable. I bought the ingredients but I wasn’t really sure I was going to make it today. But cooking new things is fun and I wanted something new with our feast. This turned out so good I would make it even for a not holiday! I said I would post it if it turned out okay. IT DID!

APPLE CRANBERRY SQUASH BAKE

2 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into thick slices or chunks
2-3 apples ( I like pink lady for some sweetness, or Granny Smith if you prefer tart) peeled and cut into chunks
1 c fresh organic cranberries
1/2 c raw pecan halves
Drizzle maple syrup
1/2 tsp mace
3 TBSP ghee, organic butter or refined coconut oil
1-2 TBSP flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a large baking dish with Pam or Coconut Oil spray. Place the squash in the baking dish and layer the apples on the top, then add the pecans and the cranberries. Drizzle lightly with maple syrup. Then in a small bowl whisk together the flour, seasonings and salt and sprinkle on the top. Slice the butter or coconut oil into “pats” or small dots and dot the dish throughout. Use less if you like. Bake 50-60 minutes until done!

I used two different kinds of apples. One was a Granny Smith but I have no idea what the other one was. This could have been dessert, it was so tasty. Maybe it was supposed to be. I have no idea. I also didn’t have any mace in the house so I ignored that and I used almond flour because I still have some.

I love experimenting and finding something completely new to eat. I have eaten all the ingredients separately, but they sure tasted really good when put together.

I didn't take a picture until we had both taken some. I wasn't sure it was picture worthy. Well, it looked pretty, but if it didn't taste good ...

I didn’t take a picture until we had both taken some. I wasn’t sure it was picture worthy. Well, it looked pretty, but if it didn’t taste good …

I had a post all written and scheduled to go live listing all the things I’m thankful for. And then I learned, totally unexpectedly, that my son and his family are going to move far away. Well, I guess “far” is relative but instead of a two hours drive, it will be twelve. Anyway, all thankfulness just disappeared and I erased the post.

They have not yet found jobs and there was no talk of exactly WHERE they are going to live when they move, but they are moving. Since I’m always really, really scared of everything, I plan and plan and plan so that I can have fewer unexpected things go wrong. Still, things go wrong, but usually I have backup plans for my backup plans.

My son has always been more the seat of his pants kind of person. I don’t know if he is thinking this through to the detail level I would prefer but certainly that has never happened in the past, so probably not.

My three grandchildren will no longer be an excruciatingly boring and often repeated car ride away. Instead they will be a long and boring drive through the mountains and over the hills and across the river and all that stuff. I’m trying not to cry about that. I was lucky they were close for this long. I don’t feel very lucky right now.

We almost always go THERE now because the one thing I’m best at in all of life is catastrophizing. I am scared nearly to a catatonic state by worrying about insisting that anyone come HERE and then get into a car wreck on the way or on the way home. That’s with a two drive. I don’t know if I could live with myself if I insisted that they visit here and then something happened on the trip. I know I never sleep when they make the drive up there to the other family – like my staying awake and worrying will somehow keep them safe.

I have no idea how I got these fearless children, but both of my sons take risks that are nearly beyond my comprehension. I’m proud of them and I envy their devil may care attitude. Usually. Right now I’m just trying not to cry.

Flying there is nearly as long as driving because there are no direct flights to anywhere but Atlanta or Charlotte from this dinky airport. So every flight involves layovers and sometimes the joys of missing connections or delays are just icing on the cake. And the expense isn’t minimal, either.

So, I might get to see them once a year. Maybe. Probably. Surely. I don’t get much vacation time but maybe I’m closer to retiring than I think. But what would I do in retirement? Certainly, even less now than before.

What are the kids (who are much older than kids, but still …) getting themselves into? They go there at least once a year now. In fact, I’ve lamented (without much effect) that they travel the 12 hour trip more frequently than they make a two hour trip. But when they are there, they are on vacation. When they move, it won’t be vacation anymore. It will just be.

My son’s reasons, as listed by him, were mostly economic in nature. He believes, correctly or not, that his chances for a better job are THERE and it may be true. He also mentioned that the environment was better THERE for his children, which may or may not be true. He did not list familial reasons, but I know that his why his wife wants to move. I’m trying to be generous because I know the kids will still have grandparents where they go, but I’m too bereft right now to be so kind. I hope I can get there soon.

I keep saying the Serenity Prayer to myself. There is nothing in this choice I can change. I’m not even sure I would if I could. I’m sad and scared but I’m nearly always scared. It is what I do best. There doesn’t seem to have been enough planning.

I would feel better if there were jobs lined up instead of knowing that the unemployment rate is higher than the national average. But my son is skilled labor and his wife is talented. Together, they might be able to pull this off with a lot more élan and there is a chance they could both be quite successful in this endeavor.

Since I can change none of it, I need only to come to terms with my new reality and accept it. As gracefully as possible.

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Because the holiday is coming up and I won’t be at the box on Thanksgiving, I opted to go to the gym today. I wasn’t getting up in the middle of the night for the event so I waited for 9 AM and appeared at open gym time.

I was up at 3.30 AM for no discernible reason and it took a while to convince myself that it was a dumb time of day to be awake. So I fell back to sleep until 6.30 which was a much better time to wake up. Then I got to piddle around here before hitting the box. I did have my morning coffee, for better or worse, prior to leaving the house.

I found a recipe that sounds wonderful and is Paleo and all that stuff, but I would need a butternut squash and some cranberries for it. I didn’t have that in the house although I had everything else. So I decided I would risk becoming one of the People of Walmart and hit the store on the way home since it is directly in my path. As far as I know, no one took a picture of me. If the recipe turns out, I will post it.

I got there and decided a nice 400 meter run in the drizzle would be perfect. I don’t know if it was the coffee, the fact that I was awake and knew what I was doing to myself, the drizzle, or something else, but I had to walk a portion of the run today. That’s embarrassing.

I worked on other warm-up stuff and then stretching stuff and eventually a bunch of other people arrived at the place. Even Ricky was there because he didn’t want to get up in the middle of the night, either.

Today’s WOD as written:
5×3 floor press
8 min amrap
5 slam balls(40/25)rx
3 push press (155/105)RX+, (115/75)rx, scaled
1 rope climb
parking lot sprint

I have never done those floor press things. They are on the schedule each Wednesday, but that is my day off. Instead of rotating moves through the days so people who don’t show up all five days get all the moves, Monday is back squat and Wednesday is this and Tuesday and Thursday have different things that are usually gymnastic in nature. Friday is simply a crap shoot.

I asked Ryan if what I thought I should be doing was what I really should be doing and it was. So I started with a 22# bar and practiced this move and then went to 32, 37, 42, and 47 pounds. I did get the 47# up once, but couldn’t get the three reps I needed. So I backed down to 42# and did the five rounds of 3 presses.

For the AMRAP, I used a 25# slam ball, I tried a 52# bar for the push press and my arms were screaming. I figured out why on the way home. Yesterday I did 48 pull-ups and 37 ring dips. Last evening when I went to take my shirt off, my arms were not happy. They didn’t cure themselves overnight and then I did that other press stuff.

So rather than drop the bar on my head, I had to stick with 42# on the push press. My progression for the rope climb was three pull-ups and 3 knees to elbows. The parking lot sprint was a walk so I could get my heart rate back down for the next round.

I still hate slam balls. However, I’m getting better at them. I actually slammed them hard enough to catch them on the bounce while in my wonderful ass to grass squat. I also brought the ball back up after the last rep.

Ryan was there, but not inside the box. He was working on his truck. A mother/daughter team were working out and they were moving considerable weight, but … and here is a dilemma. There is a note on the board to let the coaches coach and not interfere. But it was open gym and there were no coaches inside. Both mother and daughter brought the ball overhead and threw it at the ground and then squatted to pick it up and start over. That’s not the movie version we were given on demonstration day and it makes it absolutely impossible to catch it on the bounce because you are still standing when it gets that massive one inch lift off the floor. I said something but not sure if I should have.

Anyway, I finished my rounds with 3 + 8 and would have had that rope climb in there if I was on a regular clock. I didn’t realize until after I paused to get my heart rate back down how close I was to the end of my 8 minutes. I was thinking I had one more minute to go. I wouldn’t have paused and would have got the rope climb in, but I certainly didn’t have the time for another stroll through the parking lot. So suck it up, buttercup. You didn’t get it. But I did much better with the hateful slam balls today, so there is always that.

My arms hurt.

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I made “Things That Sound Like They Should Go Together” for dinner last night. Dick didn’t want it over birdseed, so I made him rice and cooked quinoa for me. I had no idea how it would turn out but we both liked it. I really don’t know exactly how I made it so we won’t ever have it again.

I looked at the WOD last night and knew I was okay so I set my alarm and got ready to hit the box. It was much warmer today, all the way up to 46⁰ which is so much better than near freezing. Yesterday it was so cold I had to wear Grandpa’s jacket to work. My facts are wrong in that link. He died in November of 1965 and I was twelve. My sister made sure I knew about my error, but that is a different story. But there is the jacket.

Back to today. The warm-up was an 800 meter run and that is beyond my abilities so I ran – now get this – 450-475 meters. I actually went PAST the turnaround mark, ran all the way to Invacare or whatever that building is before turning around and still didn’t have to weenie out before hitting the door back inside. I’m almost ready for a marathon!

Then a bunch of other crap to get us warm and may I say that I’m not a big fan of either bear crawls or crab walks. I may be a beast, but …

Today’s WOD as written:
spend 15 min working on muscle up
3RFT
30 kbs (1.5/1pood)rx
30 box jumps (24/20)rx
400m run

Amazingly enough, I can’t do a muscle up. I know that shocks nearly everyone, including me. But there it is. So Ed was the only person able to get these bad boys at the 6 AM class and so the rest of us did a Tabata with chest to bar pull-ups and then a Tabata with ring dips. I managed 8 on the chest to bar for the first two rounds, but had to cut back and got 5 on the rest. On the ring dips, I got 5, then 4 for six rounds and Coach Kim said to go all out and see how many possible on the last round and I got 8. And my arms were sore. These weren’t for a score and as we were coming up to the last two rounds, Kim mentioned we were almost done and Ashley said, “and it’s not even the WOD” so we almost done with the warm-up.

I scaled the WOD. I used the 25# KB and with the higher weight did something between a Russian and a full KB swing. My box was only 3 45# plates stacked because I’m not skinning my shins for the holidays. My run was 200 meters. My reps were 25 and 25. I managed to get them all done in various groupings and finished in 19.30.

Cindy was there even though she hurt her back with the deadlifts yesterday. KB swings weren’t on her list of doable things. Ricky was there today with a stress fracture in his heel and he had to do lots of weird things but he said he can’t stand not doing something so he has four weeks, at least, of non-weight bearing stuff to cope with. He was nice enough to show me some calf stretches since right now that is one of my big issues.

Nice day at the box. On the way home, there is an intersection with a really long light. I have a short little sports car which sits low to the ground and I was surrounded by SUVs. But the other lane moved and I thought ours should too and nearly rammed the car in front of me when we didn’t move. Finally, about three cars in our lane made it through before the light turned red again. I can only surmise that the first few idiots were so busy texting (since no one honked), because you know that is really safe and okay to do if the light is red, so they didn’t notice until too late that we could all go. They made it through, but the rest of us got to sit there and fume. I hope they rot in hell. I think it only earns you the fifth level, but still, the thought of them with a phone and no reception, trying to communicate essential things that simply must be said at that instant, and being unable to get through … well, I can dream.

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I made real potatoes au gratin last night and they worked pretty good even though I only have almond milk in the house and no real stuff. I’ve always made a roux with equal parts butter and flour and the recipe called for much less flour and so it took an awful long time to thicken, but other than that, it all worked out well.

Last night I looked at the WOD for today and still had no idea what I was doing. I looked it up via Google and still had no idea what I was doing. Fortunately, there are coaches and so I slept the sleep of the just and got to the box on time.

It was 33⁰ out there this morning which isn’t horrible or terrible, but isn’t all that nice, either. I was dressed appropriately in long pants and a short sleeved t-shirt under a long sleeved t-shirt with a sweatshirt type jacket over it. Luckily, we didn’t have to run in the cold. It was a 1000 meter row and then squatting stuff and shoulder stuff and then the incomprehensible WOD.

Today’s WOD as written:
CrossFit total
no more than 3 attempts above 90% of 1 RM so plan right
squat
press
deadlift

I was struggling with the concept of the 90% stuff and was just confused overall which happens occasionally even at this late date.

So, I was allowed to warm up to the 90% with as many reps as I wanted and then had only three attempts to increase to a new PR. That made more sense. I was able to work with that.

Candace was leaving as I had 93# sitting on the rack. That was three ten pound plates on each side of a 33# bar. She left the 6 AM class for the 5 AM class when it became available so she remembers how I struggled to do anything with just the plain 22# bar and how I really wanted to get weights on my weight for a move. She commented on my bar and it made me smile.

Coach Ryan said we were trying for the most weight we could get and we should pretend we were in a competition. I said I lost. He said that in my age and weight class I would win since I’m the only one there. I know this is true, but …

I did get that 93# back squat on the second attempt. I actually got it on the first attempt but I called no rep on myself because I knew I really didn’t break parallel with my squat. So I tried again and nailed it but my right knee was wavering. I asked about trying another 5# and Ryan said that in order to protect my knee, I should try to not be so dumb, but he said it nicer. So I stuck with a small gain, but a new PR on my back squat.

I looked before leaving the house today and my former strict press was 32#. I wasn’t sure if this was a strict press or a push press since it didn’t say, so I wrote both numbers down just in case. This number was from last spring so I figured I should get substantially higher on this one. I warmed up with a plain 33# bar and announced I had a new PR. That made me giggle. I worked my way to 53# and missed the first attempt. I reset, squeezed every tiny muscle I could find and pushed overhead for a new PR on that one.

Then I did the deadlift. I just got a PR on that last month and it was a struggle on a warm day when that was all I was working on. I couldn’t even hit the PR and lift the 138# off the ground. Damn gravity. But I did get the 133# up which is more than my body weight so I should just be happy with that.

And that is my problem. I got two PRs and managed to do amazing crap today but I was too ashamed of my numbers to even put them on the board. Not because there is anything horrible in any number. In my age and weight class, I did the best of anyone. I got a score of 279# in three lifts which a year ago would have been astonishing to me. I’m actually astonished now. I managed to do increased work and not hurt myself in the process.

But with numbers higher than my total being someone’s single lift or other, it is slightly embarrassing to have to admit to feebleness.

There is a poem I’ve loved since I was a kid called School Days. A little boy loses a spelling bee and after school, as they leave, his cap is pulled low on his face “where pride and shame were mingled” and that is how I feel today. I’m both very proud because without all the hard work I’ve done in the last year, this day would have been impossible. I’m still ashamed of the puny numbers.

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I live in the South which means that it doesn’t get cold until later and when it does, it isn’t all that cold. It also means that some leaves have started to fall off the trees, but there are plenty more where those came from.

Today is sunny with wispy clouds streaking a bright blue sky. It is also windy. My wind chimes are making lots of noise outside my window as I type. But I knew it was windy before because as I was leaving the development to get to the store, the leaves were falling like rain. It was such a pretty sight. They were swirling through the sky like large snowflakes and without the bitter cold.

Part of the Whole Life Challenge was to appreciate the world around me. I have tried, although not consistently, to notice the beauty of the world, the simplicity of nature, and the wonder of living here and now. Today I was struck by the who shebang.

I was buying food and once again I noticed that while the WLC is over, I have actually incorporated many things into my life over the eight weeks. I bought a second small saucepan today which doesn’t sound very momentous, but it is. It was a conscious choice to eat different stuff. Dick hated the quinoa and I liked it. He doesn’t want to eat it ever again and I do.

Tomorrow, I want to have ham and broccoli and then have quinoa. He can have rice. I have three different saucepans already, but how do you cook one serving of either of those in a two or three quart pan and not burn it to death. I needed another smaller pan. I spend money like we have it. Okay, it was $8 and not going to break the bank. The bigger problem I had at the store was deciding if I had a good place to keep it when not in use.

I also bought some more natural, no sugar added, peanut butter for me and some Jif peanut butter for him. This is a choice. I have learned how to make the stuff without sugar taste good buy stirring in some Stevia. Duh. But it tastes wonderful on my apples and so, I enjoy it.

I have butter for me and margarine for him. He eats bread and I don’t. While I was on this challenge, Thomas’s changed the recipe for their English muffins and they simply do not taste right which I thought at first was just me after eight weeks of no bread. But they don’t cut right either and so I don’t think it is me. I’m trying to decide what to do about no bread with my eggs and I think I will just have to scramble them.

I’m still drinking almond milk and have no problem with it. I like it in my coffee and I’ve tried cooking with it and it seems to work okay. I’m sure when I go to make the next batch of Beer Cheese Soup, I will get my regular pint of 1/2 and 1/2 and make the soup the right way because I sure don’t want to ruin a batch of that.

I’ve been eating dried fruit and been less diligent about the sugar added to that. The dates are fine but the dried cranberries aren’t. I’m not on a point system, so I’m not as fanatic about stuff. I’m still eating lots of cashews, almonds, and pistachios but some of the almonds had flavored sugar around them.

And the drop in fanaticism or lack of points led me to a bit of a problem this past week. I didn’t mobilize for two days in a row because I have no idea why except I was too lazy to actually do it. Somehow, taking ten to fifteen minutes seemed like a struggle and instead I was tight and sore and didn’t really need to be. I know better but I chose poorly because of – no good reason. Laziness, slacker status, dumbness – all are possible.

I don’t know exactly what percentage of my food is “good” or “Paleo” or whatever designation. I’ve been eating Honey Mustard Dressing (homemade) on my salads, but after a few weeks of that, I’m ready for some vinaigrette again. My salads themselves stayed exactly the same. I bought some rice crackers which were better than wheat crackers inside my head, but I don’t know about anywhere else. I made olive dip/spread again. I’ve eaten some cheese.

Dick brought me back some taffy from his trip to Florida. I don’t know how much there was, but I ate it all. Every single piece. It was delicious and tasty but I didn’t need it. I have asked him to not do that again, not because I don’t like taffy, but because I do. I would have enjoyed ten pieces and been happy but instead I had at least a pound of the stuff and feel guilty and like I have no willpower or am ruled by appetites that should be controlled.

All that said, all the badness foods, four weeks after the challenge, and I’m back up a pound. So I need to rethink some of that. Mostly, I need to remember that life is for living and some bad foods are wonderful. The three bowls of ice cream with Velvet Fudge Sauce were worth every morsel. Even some of the taffy was. Eating out with friends and not obsessing about the menu was priceless. Knowing how to choose better was, too.

Appreciating not just the scenery, but the freedom to choose foods is something we all take for granted. There are some places in the world where food is so scarce, you eat what you have and hope there will be more tomorrow – which is truly Paleo, but not the way I want to select my diet.

I’m looking forward to our Thanksgiving feast. Sarah is hosting and is a wonderful cook. So is Dayna and quite frankly, so am I. I know that the food we are eating is not “compliant” and I know it will be tasty. And I’m willing to throw caution to the winds and enjoy the food and the family that surrounds it. What an easy choice to make.

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Yesterday, my big project for the day, after CrossFit, was to get some food in the house. For that, I had to go to the grocery store. I used to tell the bosses what was needed for the office and then wait and run out of stuff because they really didn’t want to think about it when they weren’t there. So, to solve the problem, I got a credit card in the Boss’s name and can shop for them because who wouldn’t want to do that?

So I do. There was stuff we needed and it was on sale and I bought it. I also bought all my own stuff because that was the purpose of the trip. I went to pay for my stuff and used the Boss’s credit card. I tried to cancel it, but I couldn’t and I started to panic. They could refund the charge on his card and then put it on my card so it all worked out. I was just rather nervous there for a few minutes. They like me and all, but they don’t really want to buy my groceries.

I got up early yesterday, but not THAT early. Regardless, I fell asleep for an hour in the middle of the afternoon so I must have really been tired. It felt marvelous. But it made falling asleep last night a little harder. Apparently, I love 5.15 in the morning. I was up about five minutes early and so I had a little extra time before leaving for the box. I got a load of laundry in before I left.

The trip TO the box was sorta exciting. They are resurfacing the road and it has been a mess for a week or so. There were cones in the road but it seemed like I needed to be in the right hand lane when I turned on to it. However, it sometimes looked like there might be traffic in the left hand lane. The cones were in the right hand lane. It was pitch black out as it is cloudy/foggy today. Once safely at the box, the Wescott people all discussed it and none of us felt very good about the drive so I wasn’t being a weenie.

Warm-up was a 200 meter run and so that was easy and then other stuff.

Today’s WOD as written:
max up double unders (3 attempts)
Teams of 2 (135/95)
10 power cleans, 10 shoulder to overhead, 10 OH squats, 10 double unders,
then 20 of each,
then 30 of each,
and then 40 of each.

Starting with the double unders was so nice. I cannot manage to get the rope under my feet twice and I knew my three attempts would be 0, 0, 0. Ta da. But Coach Jason said to do as many as possible single unders. I got 55 on the first try, tripped on number 5 on the next. I was the last one jumping at the end of the third round and my heart rate was 171 when I stopped after 100 jumps. I was the last one working when it was a good thing! Ricky, Martin, and Cindy can all do double unders. The rest of us were just not up for it.

There was an uneven number of us today and Tracy said she would work with Cindy and Todd. That left Ricky and Martin working together and Carma was with me.

I knew the limiting factor was the overhead squats. I can manage them with no weight, but put a bar in my hand and I can almost break parallel, but not quite. And that is while completely rested. I asked Jason if I could do front squats and he wanted me to practice the move with a PVC pipe which seemed silly to me. I know the move. I need the strength. But I listen to coaches.

So I used a 42# bar for the power cleans (there weren’t ONLY 30 today), a 22# bar for the shoulder to overhead, a 3.2# PVC pipe for the overhead squats (15 months later and still no 10# bars), and did 4:1 ration for single unders.

Carma went with 53# for the cleans and shoulder to overhead and tried a 32# bar for the OH squats and eventually had to drop to the 22# bar.

We did five reps of each move and traded off and on the jumps for the first three rounds we did them all at once. For the fourth round, we did them half and half. On the last round, having practiced my OH squat enough, I started using the 33# bar and did front squats which was much harder and would have been a better workout had I done that the entire time. We finished in 28.38.

There is a note on the board that says the coaches are supposed to coach and we aren’t. I really do know HOW to do an overhead squat, I just don’t have the arm strength to carry it out. Carma’s hands were in the wrong place and her elbows weren’t locked out. No one else was telling her how to not hurt herself and so I did. I don’t know if she even knew there were those lines on the bar to help her gauge where to put her hands.

I know I was modifying the move, but it was much harder to do a round the way I wanted to do this. I should have switched over much sooner.

This week the WODs were HSPU, snatch, OH squat, HSPU, and OH squat and shoulder to overhead. That is shoulder, shoulder, shoulder, shoulder, shoulder. Amazingly enough, today, everyone’s shoulders were sore. Really? I’m going to have to discuss this with Craig. It seems like a not really good plan to me, but that is the nurse thinking. I want to hear what a Coach thinks.

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