October 2015


I stopped putting my scores on the white board. I’m always the crappiest score. This is in part because I’m the oldest person there. It is also due to my heart rate issues which make my life a little less stunning, at least at the box.

I’m awesome. I do CrossFit and have gone from literally not being able to do squats to doing all manner of dubious but remarkable things. I’ve stuck it out when it would have been far easier to quit. I have gone from not being able to open jars to being able to move heavy furniture with and sometimes without help.

But I’m still the crappiest score every single day. And I’m tired of it. I’m the low tide mark. People who are brand new to CrossFit can do more than I can in a matter of weeks, if not right out of the gate. They are, of course, young enough to be my children but that isn’t on the board. The only thing on the board is:

Patti: crappiest score of the day

I’m like the stupid third grader who is smart enough to know that she is not as smart as the overachievers. Making me put my score on the board, at least in my mind, is equivalent to making a list of all the third graders in a classroom and having them put their test scores on the board for all to see. We wouldn’t do that. Because it is cruel.

Today I got a new PR. I went from an 83# front squat to a one rep max of 90#. It was a bit shaky coming up, but I got the full squat and I got back to an upright position with the bar and could rack it. That is almost a 10% increase. I’m impressed with myself. I didn’t put it on the board. Either board.

Why? Because it is still quite pitiful. I couldn’t deadlift that much when I began this journey. Hell, it was a couple months before I could even deadlift 42#. I’m thrilled with my progress. If it was possible to put my scores into perspective, I might consider it. But they are just bald numbers without any reference point and when that is all it is, it’s pretty much a D- or something.

I scale everything in a manner that makes me work just as hard as all the other people I’m working out with. But I scale so I’m not working harder than any of the other people I’m working out with. I’m always working to capacity as evidenced by my consistently rapid heart rate making me stop and not die. I’m not holding anything back. This is the best I have. And it is pretty awesome for an old broad who couldn’t even squat when she started.

But that’s not what I see when I have to write a score on the white board. All I see is the worst score for the day. Every day. All the time. The low water mark which everyone can zoom past without any issues. They are twenty or thirty years younger than me and have been active in sports their whole lives, but that doesn’t show. All that is posted is the final number. And mine is always the worst.

I’m proud of what I have been able to accomplish. I’m proud that I didn’t quit when I really, really wanted to quit. I didn’t quit soon after I started and I didn’t quit this summer and I simply haven’t quit. I’m often disgusted with myself and my performance because I so desperately want to do better, do more, achieve greater things. And my heart rate is 175 and I can’t do even one more rep. I get discouraged.

I wanted to be better than this by now. I wanted to do the RX weights. I wanted to have my heart get as strong as my glutes. Perhaps it has gotten better and I just keep asking more of it. I  know that everything I do is more than I could do when I began. It just isn’t as much as I dreamed of.

The shoulds are killing my  joy. I got a PR today and I’m too ashamed to write it on the boards.

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I learned to read when I was five. I’m good at it by now.

I learned to never click on a link to ABC News because they don’t know I know how to read. They believe I need some talking head to tell me what the article says. I can read faster than the talking head can speak especially since I don’t have “load”. But they need to speak and interrupt my reading so I learned not to click.

I have now learned the same thing about CNN News.

The Weather Channel makes me watch a 45 second video ad before I can watch a video. Then it is packaged inside their talking heads so I can watch another 15 seconds of them blathering and then I can see a 10 second video of what I might have been interested in. I don’t do that anymore, either.

Answers.com can only make slide shows. One. Thing. At. A. Time. And wait forever while all the ads load. I don’t go there.

If you can actually put four or five things in your list on one page, I will suffer through the loading process. I might even scroll down and load the next page in a new tab while I read the current page and be less annoyed. I have had to learn to keep my mouse far to the right or left in order to not trigger the video ads and ruin my experience.

It is completely unfair because I don’t use pay per view websites and so they need the ads to generate income and run their sites. I understand that. I have become a master at ignoring the ads, just like every other human on the planet.

Except we can’t totally ignore them and the people who pay to advertise know that. So they advertise.

I don’t know if they think they are helping their cause or not. Remax has been advertising all over Facebook and telling me how many home in the Charleston area are up for sale. They will also let me know how much my house could sell for, if I clicked through on something. Or at least that is the theory. I don’t know; I don’t click through.

What I have learned is that there are so many houses for sale in the area that my house actually being purchased may be a bit on the low side. So I don’t think I will be selling soon. However, if I do decide the time is right, I will call anybody other than the freakingly annoying ad monster that is Remax. Stop showing me the famous Charleston bridge in the middle of my newsfeed and on the sidebar and then near any picture and every other time I touch a new page on Facebook. I get it, you make your money selling houses. Go away.

George Orwell was correct. We are inundated with ads and videos and noise and nonsense.

I used to get a little freaked out every time I shopped at Staples for work items because I would then get those ads on my Facebook newsfeed and sidebar. But I’m retired now so those have stopped. I had a different work email and I still don’t really know how they knew me here at home, except I did check Facebook at work and they must somehow connect.

I created a Facebook thing where I could just see what my friends and family are doing. Today, it is 85 to 90% stuff not posted by my friends and family. If there was another way to stay connected to my friends and family instead of Facebook, I would do that instead. But since we are scattered across the country from east to west and north to south, I’m stuck checking in and seeing if anybody I actually care about has posted anything. I even have friends from other countries and around the world. I would like to keep in touch. So I have to go wading through all the crap I didn’t really want to see. Even if it was 50/50 it would be a relief.

In short, the internet might be here to stay, but there has to be a better way to experience the connectivity.

And newspeople. I know how to read. Let me read. In peace. Quietly.

Who asked them to put those autoplay high volume videos in there? I can only guess it was bosses who didn’t want their people surfing the web at work. Nobody else could benefit from this.

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I am gaining weight. I’m not fat. I’ve never really been fat. But I am gaining weight and it isn’t muscle mass, it is fat. I’m ten pounds heavier than I was six months ago. I’m almost what I weighed before I began CrossFit, although it is packaged different.

My mother put herself on a low-low-low-fat diet for the last ten or fifteen years of her life. “If it tastes good, spit it out” was her motto. She drove us all nuts. She wouldn’t eat an egg so when I made a breakfast lasagna, I had to make a corner with all egg whites and mark it so she would have some. She denied herself many of her taste pleasures.

I don’t really know if it prolonged her life or not. I don’t even know if she got some satisfaction from controlling her diet. She started the rigorous stuff after Dad’s unsuccessful surgery and perhaps taking over a portion of her life in which she could have complete control gave her some sense of peace. Or maybe she was just nuts.

I don’t want to turn into my mom – at least regarding the whole crazy eating thing. But I’m getting fat. Okay, not fat. But I’m gaining weight.

It’s been two years since I did the Whole Life Challenge and I’ve gotten away from much of the cleaner eating stuff I learned to do during those eight weeks. Of course, during those eight weeks, I made Mom’s eating issues look like child’s play. I was crazy nuts about anything I ate. They gave out points and this was something I had control over. I couldn’t do much at the gym, but by God, I could manage my diet.

Except, I’m still at the gym and still crappy at it. But now I’m not watching my diet. I know what I need to do. I know pretty much where it fell apart. I bought a vat of Moose Munch and I ate the whole thing. I had to. Dick can’t eat popcorn or nuts and so I had this vat of deliciousness and I ate it. All.

Then I bought a two, not one, but two different large containers of cashews. I love cashews. I ate all of them, too. I’m on my fourth or maybe fifth bag of cheese curls. Delicious and salty. I have three favorite foods – chocolate, coffee, and salt. And I’m eating all of it.

Almond milk is really just white water with a bit of grit thrown in to make your last gulp of coffee regrettable. It doesn’t work well for cooking and doesn’t taste good in coffee or on cereal. Another thing I couldn’t have while doing the Whole Life Challenge was cereal, but notice how I know almond milk doesn’t taste good on it. I’ve fallen off the healthy food wagon.

I started drinking milk again instead and it is 120 calories per cup more than the white water with grit. But my coffee tastes better and we can actually cook with it.

My problem seems to be that although I know what I’m supposed to do, I’m not doing it. Not even pretending to do it. I’m just watching myself get fatter.

And since I’m not fat, when I say I’m getting fatter, it upsets those who care about me. I’m not fat. I know I’m not fat. I’m not about to turn into a anorexic at this late date. I do not miss a meal. One of the worst things about the whole new car buying experience was that I did, in fact, miss a meal and it was awful.

Since I’m just ten pounds heavier than I was six months ago, it doesn’t show too much and I’m still fitting into my clothes. But I won’t for long if I don’t do something about the continual uptick in numbers. But I keep hearing how I shouldn’t turn into the crazy diet person. But I don’t want to have to lose thirty pounds later. If I can get a handle on things and rein in my snacking and munching and grazing, I will be fine.

But if I mention I need to do so, I’m told I’m thin and I should enjoy life. I do enjoy life. I enjoy being this size and fitting in all my clothes and not having to pick and choose what I pull from the closet because only a few things still fit. I hated that.

It is hard to realize that as I age, I just can’t metabolize all the calories I used to. And as I age, I’m sitting more. I’m no longer even walking around an office for a few hours a week. I’m left to my own devices and I find I’m a complete slug. I don’t move out of my chair unless it is to go and get a snack.

I don’t want to do another Whole Life Challenge because I was completely nuts. But I don’t really know how to make myself behave even when it is in my own best interest. Life is just hard.

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I truly love the sound of my own voice or the look of my own writing. I’ve kissed the Blarney Stone and hove no problem talking and talking. I’ve loved the written word for over half a century and writing is pretty easy.

But … it isn’t all that simple. If it was, everyone would do it. Oh, wait. Here is a paragraph from Wikipedia on the topic of “Blog”:

On 16 February 2011, there were over 156 million public blogs in existence. On 20 February 2014, there were around 172 million Tumblr and 75.8 million WordPress blogs in existence worldwide. According to critics and other bloggers, Blogger is the most popular blogging service used today, however Blogger does not offer public statistics.  Technorati has 1.3 million blogs as of February 22, 2014.

And that’s the problem. I’ve been writing Little Bits of History for many years now. I began posting a daily blog in 2010. I’m still posting a daily blog there. At one time, I had a huge number of hits per day. I guess, when compared to this blog, I still do. But even there, numbers are dropping.

I’ve had a Blogger blog, and I guess I’ve never actually killed it and so it is out there and taking up some of the numbers. I have four separate blogs on WordPress and I really only use two. So all those blogs aren’t necessarily active.

I don’t write about hot topics. I’m not a Mommy blogger. While I do write about CrossFit and it is a potential hot topic, I’m not that kind of CrossFitter. I’m an old lady with a heart rate problem. Even I’m tired of hearing how, after three years, I am still an old lady with a heart rate problem.

Every once in a while I look back to see what I’ve done with a WOD we have already done before. But honestly, it isn’t really worth the effort I put into this.

There have been some new folks starting at the box. They are already doing better, moving more weight, getting faster times, and have better things to write on the white board. They are young enough to be my children. But that doesn’t go up on the board.

The only time I consider quitting CrossFit altogether is when I compare my score to the rest of the scores on the board. Mine is always the worst. I have the lowest weight, I have the longest time, I have the fewest reps. Sometimes I have all three for one WOD. And it is demoralizing. I’m working to capacity. I’m giving it all I’ve got. I just don’t have that much.

My heart rate is always high. I always go to the limit and it doesn’t really take much to get me there. It is uninteresting and the few times I have looked back to see what I did, I notice that it is always and forever my limiting factor. Therefore, there is no real reason to keep writing about it. All I need is a notebook with the WOD, my weights, my scaling options, and my score. I can write that down in less than a minute.

Even my histories are probably going to go away after the end of the year. It’s not that there isn’t more history and it certainly isn’t that I don’t have enough time. It is that I’ve been giving this away for six years and it’s more work that it’s worth that way. And I can’t stand the ads in order to monetize the damn thing and even if I did, there aren’t enough hits to make it worth my while.

If I thought about it and was paid less than a dollar to write, it would be more insulting than if I gave it away for free. My problem is what to do with my time and energy. If I won the lottery, I would travel more. But I don’t even buy tickets so that isn’t looking so promising.

I have 31 more history essays to write and then I will have a bunch of time with nothing pressing. If I find I can like it, I will just let that fall by the wayside as well. It has been interesting to do and I’ve learned an amazing amount of trivia. But it is always looming and the payoff is less and less.

With everyone out there blogging and blabbing, there really isn’t much of an audience for any particular blogger unless you have some niche. I don’t. And working that hard, even when it is easy, isn’t worth it.

Signature --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Signature — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Because of all the rain, they asked people to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary on Monday. While I believe it is important to not cherry pick my workouts, I don’t believe I actually have to show up in a statewide emergency. So I didn’t go to the gym. Instead, I walked rapidly around the big, big block for 55 minutes. But I stopped enough to take some amazing pictures of pooled water. We didn’t get flooded out at our house, but there was lots and lots of water.

Yesterday, I did nothing. Well, I wrote a lot, but other than that, nothing. We had our Tuesday crab legs. I have one more meal of crab legs and then the freezer will be blissfully free of crab. Until I buy some more, but that’s a different story. We have so much shrimp, that’s going to have get cut back, as well.

I successfully did not look at the WOD last night. There have been snatches or overhead squats for four days in a row. I wasn’t going to let it upset me because I’ve opted to forego snatches and overhead squats until next year. But it still upsets me. I hate being old and feeble.

The whole CrossFit thing upsets me. I haven’t seen any progress in so long. I’m stagnant. Because of all the snatches and overhead squats which challenge my poor balance, I have been moving very low weights. I believe I’m weaker than I was at the beginning of the summer.

Today was Nikki, Cindy, me and a new person, Natalie. All of them are young enough to be my daughters. Kim was coaching. Nikki has been out of her initial training stuff for a couple weeks. Natalie still isn’t quite finished – she is going tomorrow for another skill lesson – but she wanted to try a class.

Today’s WOD as written:
Strength:

5,4,3,2,1 increasingly heavy high bar back squats.
Fight Gone Bad with a twist
3RFT:

Wall balls (20/14)
Kettlebell Swing (53/35)
Box jumps (24/20)
Push press (75/55)
Burpees
1 minute at each station. No programmed rest until all 5 moves are completed. 1 min rest between rounds. Score is total reps.
You can thank Chip Spalding! Requests (by other athletes) were submitted by several for no rowing or running. Burpees it is!

Luckily, Craig doesn’t read these or this would make him go crazy. Training is supposed to have some sort of plan. There should be a plan for the day, but also a plan for the short term and the long term. Just random workouts don’t create a program which shows consistent growth. We are doing a bunch of WODs that members sent in for us. Just random shit.

When I looked at this stuff today, I had a plan for the back squats. I would start at 53 and add ten pounds and end at 93. I did that. Nikki ended at 112, which is just a point of reference. It is not a comparison. I don’t believe that, either.

Kim said she was up in the middle of the night worrying about how to scale this for me. Did I want to do :30 on and :30 off? I would love to, but my heart rate wouldn’t let me do that. I thought maybe :20 on and :40 off or I could just go to a pre-determined number and then try to recoup. Kim liked that. She asked what numbers I though. I thought I should do 8 for each on the first round and then seven and six and see if I could survive that.

I used a 10# med ball, a 25# kettlebell, a 20” box, and a 33# bar. I tried to go to 9’ mark on the wall balls, did American swings, and step-ups. I had a heart rate of 112 to start.

I got my wall balls done and had a heart rate of 159. I did box breathing and was ready for the kettlebell swings, I could get my heart rate down for the step-ups, but as I sat there panting, I thought to myself what the hell was I thinking? I created a new strategy. I did the eight step-ups and then did my best to get my heart rate down. I did 16 push press. That was my 40 reps I was counting on. I skipped the burpees. Then I had a little over two minutes for a break.

My heart rate was in the 140s to start this time, but I thought I might be able to get eights again anyway. I did on the wall balls and kettlebell swings. I had been really tired with that many push press, so I figured I could do 10 step-ups and then only have 14 push press. So I did that. My heart rate was 180 when I stopped and climbed at least to 182 before I stopped looking. I had a two minute rest because I again skipped the burpees.

I wanted to get to 40 again for the third round. I got the eight wall balls, but the kettlebell swings were easier and I did 12 so I had half the reps done. I did ten step-ups and then 10 push press. Then I panted like a lizard on a hot rock. I got up to 180 again, but I didn’t see it go over. There was still time left. My heart rate was down to 166 so with the last 30 seconds I did modified burpees and got seven in. My score was 127 and my heart rate was 175.

Kim’s score earlier today was 248. Cindy got 216 and was so ticked. She should have done better. She wasn’t feeling good and yet, she should have been able to tie her friend and her score was terrible and on and on she went. I sat there with a score almost 100 points less. I wish I could report how much the other girls got, but I don’t remember. There was so much written about what they used, that I didn’t notice a score, but I’m sure it was higher than mine even for the brand new person.

It was my best work. And that’s all I had.

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The fact is, I am smart. I don’t say that to be boastful, but because the fact is, I am smart. I tested well in school and was assigned a higher IQ score. I learn easily. I adapt quickly. I can put new thoughts together and come up with different ideas. I have always done well scholastically. I am smart. And because of that, I often think I should be able to think my way to winning.

I don’t remember anyone ever telling me I had to win, but I do remember hearing the “do your best” admonishment. Or the “Is this really your best?” criticism. I can’t really tell you if it was directed at me or not, but I was somehow inculcated with the idea that I should always do my best. It is impossible to always be at your best. This creates a problem for me and I don’t know if also does so for others, but I thought I would explore the idea.

What does “Do your best” really mean? How do you know if your product is your best work?

I’m smart (see above) and so if I got a 95% on a test, was that really my best? What happened to the answer(s) I missed? Why didn’t I get that correct, too? The only way for me to know I did my best was to get 100%. I don’t know if this is just me, just smart people, or everyone in general. When you did what you thought was right and it turned out wrong, and then someone asks the dreaded question, what is the answer?

“Yes, this pitiful incorrect mess is my very best. This is all I can manage. I am unsuccessful and a slug. I’m so sorry I’m taking up space on the planet.”

The only way to save face is to say you were just being sloppy, but does that outward statement really help? My best was usually good enough. Why isn’t good enough good enough?

And this leads me to my current state as an old fart. Here I am. I’m not senile yet so I’m still smart. Inside my head I know how often my best is simply awful. That is because I have decided to step outside the realm of academia and enter into the world of fitness. It is simply not in me to be young and strong and super wonderful. I’m in the gym with teenagers and they can whip past me like I’m standing still. I’m in the gym with people complaining about how old they are and how difficult it is to compete against the teenagers. These people are the same age as my children. I do not feel especially sorry for their plight.

Intellectually, I know I’m pushing myself to the limit each and every time I show up. I don’t even have to guess. My heart rate is so high and gives me confirmation about how hard I’m working. It doesn’t measure how much I am actually achieving, which is miniscule and minimal and way less than anyone else there doing the same stuff as I do. And so I’m always faced with that paragraph above.

This pitiful mess is my absolute best. I give it all I’ve got when I show up. I try to game things and choose a lighter weight to move more often. Whatever I try, I know I’m working to capacity since my heart rate goes sky high and I can barely breathe. I’m not faking it. This horrible mess is the best I can do. And it is pitiful.

Because my best is so pitiful in this arena, I have eschewed other activities along the same line. I could do yoga. I’m certainly not any worse at yoga than I am at CrossFit. But I’m not any better, either. I suck at that, too, and there is only so many things I can fail at and keep my sanity.

I am so afraid of failing, that I am limiting myself in areas which don’t even have winners and losers. I just can’t make myself be the worst at stuff when I live in a culture of “is this your best work?”. It is my best work. It sucks and is horrible and is the best I can do. So I withdraw. I don’t even try. I don’t HAVE to do this stuff. I can excel at wasting time.

I read well. I can color up a storm. I can knit and crochet. I can play mindless computer games. And since all of this is solitary, there is no one asking me if it is my best work, even in my head. I’ve never asked myself as I read some trashy novel, if this is my best and shouldn’t I be reading Kant or something? Never. I just read whatever crap I’m interested in. Without any judgment, I have read anything from science fiction to philosophy (although never Kant). There is no questioning, even internally, about my effort.

Why do I put this sort of pressure on my performance at what is essentially non-competitive stuff? How do you win a CrossFit WOD? Three times a week, I go and nearly kill myself. I’m sore and tired and sweaty and disappointed in my performance. No matter how good I do, I’m the worst on the board. Always. Worst. But by what measure? I’m the only old fart lady there. There is no one else over 60 there. DeWayne is close to my age and an amazing athlete. He was at the CrossFit Games out in California, that’s how amazing he is. He is in the top 20 athletes in his age group in the world. It is not fair to compare myself to him, even though he is close in age, if seven years is close.

How could I lose at yoga? There isn’t even a Games thing anywhere for yoga. It is completely non-competitive. The entire idea is non-competitive. And yet. I suck at it. My balance is pure crap and so I fall over and just suck. And don’t participate because I’m humiliated by my performance. There are 100 year old women who do yoga and then there is me. Pitiful me. How can this mess be my best? Do I want someone to think I’m a slug who doesn’t try or that I’m pitiful and just can’t manage? I don’t know but if I don’t participate, I don’t even have to ask the question.

This is my best. And it is not enough.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We are having a little storm here along the East Coast. It’s been raining, she says with wry understatement. But it was the Masters Garage Games at Conviction Training Facility today.

We were supposed to leave around 3 PM yesterday, but the people who were supposed to be done installing the new flooring by noon at the latest were still installing at 3 PM even though they started before they said they would. They didn’t leave until just after 5 PM and then we had all this furniture to put back. I would like to point out that before CrossFit, the furniture would still have been stuck somewhere. But I was strong enough to be able to help move even the heaviest pieces and not scratch the new floor. So there is that.

We got to Hilton Head much later than expected, but we did manage to get there even though for about one-third of the way, I was so nervous I could have cried. I was sure we were going to die at any moment. The rain was intense and blinding and the puddles on the road tried to throw the car into a ditch. Dick did a spectacular job getting us there.

When the Games were first announced this year, I was excited. Then I read the WODs and I was devastated. I’m glad the asshole who designs this crap thinks so highly of 50 and over women. But really, Mr. Asshole, in every other WOD since the beginning of time, women get to use less weight than men. Except for this. Young men, scaled, had a higher weight than old men, scaled. However, young women scaled and old women scaled could move the same weight. And old men and old women could move the same weight. Last year, the move was changed from ground to overhead for us real old farts. This year, it wasn’t.

I did not sign up for the humiliation and defeat therein.

Cheryl did.

Let me say that again. Cheryl did. She was my competition last year and she beat me on every WOD, but just barely on the last one. She and I talked. She is amazing. I said I knew I couldn’t do a 45# snatch. She said she really couldn’t either, but she probably wouldn’t get through the needed 50 wall balls first anyway. That was her stopping point last year and how I managed to give her a run for her money, even with my wonky heart rate shit.

But she tried this year. She was freaking amazing. She did great on the first and last WOD. But the one with the wall balls – she tried and tried. She said she probably took 50 shots. She got a score of 4. And she got back in for the last WOD and kicked ass.

I would love to be a better athlete. I would love to move more weight and not have a heart rate that races so high so quickly. But even more than that, I would love to have the bravery and courage Cheryl demonstrated today. She was freaking awesome. She was wonderfully awesome. She is my hero.

I did not have the courage or fortitude or bravery or even simple chutzpah to get out there and embarrass myself in front of a room full of people. I’m always last. I was last, last year. And I don’t just mean at Conviction Training Facility, I mean across the entire board. My pride was hurt. I used to be a winner and I never win at CrossFit.

And Craig “yelled” at me about that last night. There is no way not to win at CrossFit. Having the courage to take the risk made Cheryl a winner. And my hero. If only I could be like her. She was simply wonderful.

Since I was the scorekeeper instead of the participant, I could keep an eye on the weather. It wasn’t that bad in Hilton Head, but it was horrible, or at least worse, up here at home. They were predicting enough rain to call for a curfew because they wouldn’t be able to rescue all the idiots who got caught in predicaments due to the weather.

Dick and I discussed it and we left early. Even if I had been a participant, I would have been done with my stuff, but I didn’t get to see DeWayne’s third WOD – he took first place for all three WODs. He is awesome, too.

The navigation will tell us of issues on the road. It warned us of an accident on 95 and we didn’t want to go that way anyway. As we drove, it warned us that 165 was flooded and took us a different way. We were just ten minutes from home when the road was blocked. It hadn’t warned us, but Dorchester Road was also flooded and we had to backtrack and take an extra twenty minutes to get home. This is better than not making it at all, so I will try to not complain too much.

We are home safe. I got to see a bunch of amazing people working today. It was great.

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