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I truly appreciate that you've decided to share part of your day in my world. I hope your time has been well spent and I've made you smile, laugh or think.

Monday, June 25, 2012

What Exactly is this Crossfit of Which You Speak?

I started doing Crossfit 3 weeks ago.  I've been posting about my trials and tribulations on Facebook and have mentioned it in this blog and my weight loss blog.

But on a regular basis I get asked "What exactly IS Crossfit?"

Crossfit uses natural body movements and resistance to build a core level of fitness that can be utilized in daily activities as well as sports.

Okay, so what is it really?

There is limited equipment use- pull up bars, kettel bells, barbells, dumbbells, gymnastic rings, rowing machines, boxes and bands.  Many of the exercises are simple ones from PE class- burpees, push ups, sit ups and squats.

There is a Workout of the Day (WOD) that is on the whiteboard.  (The workouts are often named after women-- which is what caught my attention.  My former high school principal would post that he did 8 reps of Mary.  I would comment "Did you at least buy her dinner?") They are either time based (AMRAP)-- as many rounds as possible during set time period or round based-- 6 rounds and going for your best time.

The workouts vary daily- and I mean vary.  I am currently taking a beginner intro class, so much of our class is spent on technique.  The gym that I go to (or box as they call it), the coaches are very into making sure you do it right.  All of the exercises can be scaled down-- sometimes not enough for me, to be honest.

We started the day with a 400m Indian Run (which I opted to walk and save my tribe, but through their encouragement joined back into).  Then we did band exercises for the remaining warm up.  The actual work out, after reviewing the techniques were 20, 15, 10 thrusters (barbell squats to an overhead push press) alternating with 10, 15, 20 kettel bell swings.

What I really like about it is that while I am sore, I am never hurt.  The varying workouts are logically designed and coordinated so that I work everything during the week without overfocusing on one exercise (which I do when I work out on my own).

So that's the basics.

Now MY version of Crossfit is a little different.

It involves moaning, whining, and figuring out the lowest/easiest form of what ever the exercise is.  I never thought I could jump 18 inches onto a box.  I can.  I still cannot do a pull up, but I can do modified dips on the rings far better than I could have imagined.

I giggle when they use the term snatch.  I'm sorry.  It's funny.

I often roll my eyes.

I described burpees to one unsuspecting classmate as "the thing that coaches make you do when you piss them off."  No, it is NOT an opportunity to further enhance your athleticism, although that was a lovely way for our coach to put it.

When I was doing kettel bell swings and the coach said I needed to pop and explode my hips more,  I couldn't keep as straight face as he demonstrated a fierce hip thrust.  I kept thinking "I've been married 10 years-- my hips stopped doing that a long time ago..."  (my husband doesn't think that's funny, by the way...).

I am a bad Crossfitter.

I haven't lost any weight, shockingly.  But what I have noticed is my clothes are looser and more importantly, when I was helping my parents move last week, I was insanely stronger.  I lifted things, twisted more smoothly-- I was stunned.  Last year at this time, I was on the couch recovering from surgery after having spending the large portion of the spring in constant back pain.   I couldn't bend over to tie my shoes, let alone lift a 50 lb box.

What a difference a year makes.

To the other crossfitters I'm probably just an old, fat chick slowing them down.  To me, I'm fighting from the inside out.  No, hanging from the pull up bar for 30 seconds was not as great as doing 7 knee ups, but it really IS the best I've got as humiliating as it is. And last year, I wouldn't have lasted 10 seconds.  Or even tried.

I'm scared to death to try the "real" class next week.  I'm afraid I'm in over my head.

But I am going to try.  With my sarcastic bubble over my head, of course.

Because the strange thing is, as terrible as I am at it (and trust me, I am TERRIBLE), it's a bit addicting.  I was warned that it was cultish.  It is.  It's not fun, but it feels more like play.  A torturous, hellish play, but still it's a game-- beat your times, beat your rounds.  It's inherently self-competitive without being competitive with others.  My balance is getting better.  My core is stronger.  I'm sleeping better.

It appears that it works. No matter how bad I am, it's still working.  I've decided to stay off the scale for the remainder of the summer.  I want to be fit.  Besides, even if I never lose a pound, I still need to exercise for the rest of my life. 

So that's what Crossfit is. In a way, it's become a personal quest for me to just be able to do the work outs.  I think it's something different to everyone.  It's not just an exercise class.  That doesn't even begin to describe it.

If you're looking into it, don't wait.  Give it a shot.  It is difficult.  It is overwhelming.  But until you've done it, you won't understand.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


I don't like to run.

At all.

It is not fun to me.

Now you can try and convince me that it's great exercise. 


Because every great exercise starts with me groaning, bitching and wishing I were dead.

I get that some people find it exciting.  They like to beat their times.  They find it relaxing.

I do not.

For whatever reason, I cannot run.  I mean, if an axe murderer were chasing me, I probably could.  But it would have to be a big axe.  Really big.

I think the reason my ancestors IQ's developed is because we were too slow to outrun the bear and were therefore forced to figure out ways to outsmart the bear.

My slowness has clearly benefited me.

But yet with this new Crossfit thing, I am being forced to learn to run.

I very seriously can walk faster.  No joke.

I have a big, fat butt.  I have skinny, weak ankles.

Explain to me why it's a good thing to force the issue?

Everyone I know seems to be running marathons or half marathons.

I run errands.

I did "run" a 5k.  A kindergarten class beat me.  They were juicing.   Capri Sun. Not the waters, the full juice.  The hard stuff.  And I am NOT making this up.

So I plod and waddle along.  I hear that someday I may enjoy it.

Don't hold your breath.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fifty Shades of What's the Big Deal

Next month, we are reading "50 Shades of Grey" for our book group because everyone in the world is apparently reading it. We normally read decent books- not necessarily pop culture lit.  We've even read a few novels BEFORE Oprah.

We are that cool.

So for summer we decided why not?  We are going out to dinner in lieu of our normal meeting at someone's house and making it an event.

One of the women decided not to read the book and sent us a link to a blog that discussed how good Christians shouldn't read the book.  I have absolutely no issue with her decision to not read the book.  It's definitely not for everyone.  I respect her decision to step out, allow us to have fun with it, because she was uncomfortable and would have been uncomfortable discussing it. 

My issue with the blog was the woman who wrote it actually hadn't read the book and made a LOT of assumptions of what it was about.  She got a lot of "Amens" to her post from others that hadn't read it either and a few from people who had that said "Um... that's not even what the book is about...."

First of all, when faced with other people telling me what they think I should and shouldn't do, especially when they are speaking on behalf of God, I usually smirk.  Then I ask "What would Jesus do?"

I don't especially think Jesus would have read the book.  Not because it's smut (it really isn't- there is a plot), but because there are far better things to read.  I would have hoped in his divinity he would have been able to go "Hmmm... thin, cheesy story line... I'll pass." But again, unlike so many people, I am not going to pretend to speak on behalf of Jesus.

I am not going to lie-- I read all three-  well, I started skimming in the second and only read about a quarter of the last one.  It's an interesting mystery.  But the actual writing didn't keep me spellbound.

The love story is hilarious.  Plain Jane is courted by eccentric young, gorgeous billionaire.  She is unaware of her inner beauty and he, through his magic connection to her, despite his early childhood abuse before being adopted by a saintly, wealthy couple, manages to pull out her inner, savage, sexiness.

Yes, you've read it before.  Your first (and hopefully, last) Harlequin romance novel.  As my friend Millie pointed out, it's from the more, um, "explicit" line they have.

My work colleague said she found herself flipping through the sex sections and going..."whatever.... get back to the story."  I found myself doing the same.  All right, already, sex on the car, sex on the pool table, sex on the kitchen counter, sex on the yacht...

Ee gads.  Don't these people have cable?  When do they find time to watch "House Hunters International?"

Don't get me wrong, I love my husband.  But sometimes I want to see what apartments in Paris go for.

With that said, I was intrigued by the story line.  Especially how it unfolds.  And each book has a cliffhanger at the end, sucking me into buying the next book.  Pardon the term.

And the sex.

Yes, there was sex. Maybe it's because I had just seen a "Dateline" on kinky sex clubs, maybe it's because I live in Vegas and there's a Starbucks, Walgreen's, pawn shop and "adult" store on more than one corner, or maybe I've watched one too many "Sex and the City" episodes, but I didn't exactly find it horribly shocking.  Some of it, yes, but most of it, I was aware that there was a freaky, counter culture alive and well in our country.  Because I do have cable.

But the story was really about 2 people who fell in love.  He introduced her to kinky sex.  She consented and liked it.  A few people tried to kill them.  They lived happily ever after.  Married, monogamous and into their freaky shit.

And the dialogue-- I swear, I think the author had one of those "Word of the Day" calendars and tried to fit in a fancy, schmancy word at least 1-2 per chapter.  The characters sounded ridiculous. 

Not exactly the type of book that will lead to the demise of marriage and the eventual collapse of the human race.  In fact, having read the book, the other blog was flipping hilarious.  The Kardashians are much more harmful to marriage than this book. 

Here's what I think the book will do-- it will get a bunch of women to read it, discuss it and giggle.  Maybe a few will find their inner goddesses and get their freak on.  I don't know.  I don't want to think about my neighbors getting busy any more than they want the frightening visual of my husband and I getting kinky.  

It's silly pop culture.  If your marriage or lifestyle is threatened by a silly, cheesy book you need to evaluate your life-- not the book.  It's just not that life changing.  At all.  If anything, it's pro marriage.  Even kinky sex freaks can find their soul mates. 

I would write more but I have to go get the harness and hot wax ready.... kidding... or am I??

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sometimes You Need to Put on Big Boy Pants

I am a fairly casual person.  Much to my officemate's dismay, I am fine wearing shorts and flip flops to the office when I am not meeting with clients.  Sometimes, depending on the client, I will still wear them (it has to be someone that REALLY knows me-- or has seen me in a swimsuit- not a pretty sight).  Las Vegas is a fairly casual city, typical to the southwest or west coast.  Plus, it's really, really hot out here.  

HOWEVER, there are times when I think people really need to put on their big boy pants and dress up.

I was astounded by the parental outcry about school uniforms.  This was the proposed uniform for my children's school- jeans or khaki's, including shorts or skirts with a red, white or blue polo shirt.  CRAZY!!  The arguments had me dumbfounded-- school should be fun, it shouldn't feel like work.  Huh?  Yes, I am for fun in education, but it sorta IS your kids' job.  One mom, in torn jeans, white t-shirt said "So if I walked into your office dressed like this, you wouldn't hire me?'  to which I responded, aghast "No.  I would not."  Now I have no issue that she was dressed like that for a PTA meeting- I happen to usually dress up because they are during the day and on a day that I meet with clients (THAT is another gripe of mine-- here's a thought, you want parental involvement, how about not scheduling meetings during the work day??? ).  ANYHOW.... one mother, the only other one who didn't think that this oppressive uniform was the end of creative thought and rampant socialism... commented that you should dress a certain way for certain events.  That got eye rolls from the people who suddenly felt compelled to show up at these meetings (as opposed to the 6-8 of us who always show up-  I guess issues like your kids' clothes are much more important than issues like low test scores..).

When I interviewed people (which I was doing while the whole school uniform issue was being discussed and probably influenced my opinion that it was not a bad idea to teach kids how to dress), I was genuinely surprised at how some people really didn't know how to dress professionally.  You have one shot to make a first impression.  Wrinkles, jeans and sneakers to work at a financial services firm?  That shows me that you are unfamiliar with the industry and what we do.  I appreciate that you may not have a lot of money, but you can get a nice dress for under $30 or khakis and a shirt and tie for under $50.  I buy clothes.  I know.  It doesn't have to been designer stuff.  It does have to be professional.

Last night, we went to The Smith Center to see "The Million Dollar Quartet."  The first few times we've been to shows there, people seemed to know how to dress.  But lately, it's gotten more and more casual.  Shorts.  T-shirts.  I think we saw sweat pants.


It's Friday night.  It's a touring Broadway show.  Not a matinee at your child's pre-school.


I make my kids dress up.  Because sometimes in life, it's good to get dressed up. 

My husband and I argued about it before the first show.  I told him I wanted them to learn how to do it.  We lead very casual lives.  This is a good opportunity to teach them how to behave at cultural events, how to dress, how to eat in a nice restaurant-- how to have a little class.  After he saw how much fun they had with it, he got it and was on board.
But what I really noticed is the higher up you went- we are in the gallery- the sloppier people dressed.  The people on the floor were decked out.  As if they were going to a Broadway show.  In the evening.  They had class.

My daughter's dress was $15 at JC Penney's.  My son had on black pants ($12), a white shirt ($10) and a tie ($5) from JC Penney's.  I had on a dress from Kohl's ($45).  No clue what my husband's outfit cost, but it's what he wears to work- a shirt, a tie and dark blue pants.  Oh, and we've worn these outfits many, many times.  We didn't buy them special for this event.

It's not like it's expensive to look decent.  I'm sure some of the jeans people had on were much more expensive than my dress.  You don't need a $1200 gown.

But it's the point-- when did we become such a casual society?  Wait- not casual- but sloppy?  Nice khakis and a polo would have been appropriate (it was 102-- I don't expect anyone to wear a suit out here).

And again, this is coming from ME-- the person who shops in sweats and hates to wear make up.

There are times when you should dress up.  It's not a punishment.  It's kinda fun.

My kids got 20+ compliments from people as we walked in-- "So nice to see young people who know how to dress!"  "What lovely children!"  "How handsome!"  "What a beautiful dress!"  It was that shocking.

Honestly, my kids behave better when they are dressed nice.  Call me crazy...

My son even noticed "Wow- people didn't get dressed up tonight-- I wonder why?"  It was a fun show, but again, not the local high school rendition of "Annie."

And I continued to be mesmerized in a chicken-egg way on the people in the expensive seats dressing appropriately and the people in the cheap seats not....

I saw Don Rickles about 11 years ago.  A Saturday night at the Desert Inn.  A guy came in late in bermuda shorts.  He had a field day with him "Glad to see you took the time to get dressed up for this... thanks... I feel really appreciated... Buddy, it's the Strip... Saturday night... were your jeans too dirty???"

With the obsession with reality shows on rich people, you would think it might translate into an appreciation for looking nice. I'm not talking obsessing about materialistic things, but looking, well presentable.

Me.  I'm in a t-shirt and shorts right now.  We went to the food co-op and got the car smogged.  Appropriate attire.  We are going to dinner after our dance recital today.  I will dress a little nicer.  Big girl pants.

There's something about getting dressed up that makes people act a little nicer, a little more courteous, a little classier.  Maybe our lack of class-- as witnessed on is directly related to when we stopped taking the time to dress a little nicer?

So those are my thoughts today.

Surprising from the girl who maximizes her time in flip flops.

Just not at a touring Broadway show.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"I Know What You and Daddy Did Last Night..."

This is an oldie but goodie, inspired by a comic someone posted on FB today.

My son was about 4 years old.  He was very annoyed with me.

"What's wrong?"  I asked.

"I know what you and Daddy did last night."

Oh dear.

It was Thursday morning.  The morning after Hump Day.  Other families have their traditions, we have ours...

ANYHOW, I became a little nervous.

"You do?"  Thoughts were racing through my head on how I was going to respond to what I thought was coming next...

"Yes."  He was still mad.

"What do you think we were doing?"

"You had a party without me."

"A party?"  I asked.

"Yes."  Still mad.

"Why do you think we had a party?"

"I know you were up later than me," he said unhappily.

"Yes, we were up late.  We stay up later than you every night. "

"But you had a party last night.  I know."

"You do?"  Now I'm worried....

"I saw the popcorn bowl.  Why would you have popcorn without me?!"


"Yes.  Mommy and Daddy had a popcorn party.  I am so sorry we didn't invite you."

And from that day forward, we started locking the door.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why I am Doing Crossfit....

I am 42.  Overweight.  No flexibility.  I can't run.

I also have started one of the most intense workout programs of my life- Crossfit.

I first heard about Crossfit because my former high school principal started posting things like "I did Fran in 14:05"-- and I would respond "Does that include cuddle time?"

He told me about Crossfit.  Many of the workouts are named after the trainers.  He also sent me a note when he saw how I had spent the past 6 months struggling with Weight Watchers with very little benefit.  He thought it might be what I needed.

I looked into it.  The way the schedule worked for the one nearest me, I had to wait until summer.  Being a mom, a business owner-- there's not a lot of free time.  Spring is also when my husband coaches track, so any every minute is accounted for until school is out.  I didn't want to start something that I knew I couldn't do or would stick with.

I had another friend Shane (not my hubby) who also was doing it.  He loved it.  He sent me some encouraging links.

And my friend Jay...

And the list goes on and on.

Everyone-- especially the people who "knew me when"- cheered me on.  My friend Emily in Connecticut started it as well.  My friend Deanne in Illinois starts next week.

So why, out of all the things in the world did I decide to do something that is entirely out of the box for me?

First, nothing else was working.  I am the quintessential low fat, reduced calorie, lotsa cardio example of how to get fat.  I have exercised and dieted my metabolism into nothing.

Second, and this is the real reason.  I had to.

It looks impossible to me.  So I had to do it.  Reconnecting with those people who "knew me when" was why.

I used to take on every challenge with determination.  There was nothing I couldn't do.  After high school, when I was set to be an exchange student, my paperwork got screwed up.  I was being sent to an entirely different country where I didn't speak the language.  I thought about bailing, but then I figured what the heck-- why not?  That was me.

When I picked colleges, a few people commented there was no way I could get into an Ivy League school- I should play it safe.  I didn't.  I loved every minute of having exceptional professors and meeting some of the brightest people that I still call friends.

I packed up my car, left a cushy job and started a new life, 2000 miles away in a city where I knew 1 person-- that I met a week before I graduated college and had had a 20 minute conversation with.

I went into a male dominated industry, had a 95-98% chance of failing and I survived.  I thrived even.

That was me.

Then I got a little lazy.  I joked that I started to play The Lowest Common Denominator Game-- how mediocre could I be and still be considered successful? 

And it was a very easy lifestyle to get sucked into.  Into mediocrity.

I need this.  Not so I look good.  I don't care if I ever have my 21 year old body back.  I need this for my head.  I need this because I need to prove that I am still that person-- the one who could look at rock wall and think "I can climb that"- not "Let's go get lattes instead."

I need to remember how it feels to be strong.  How it feels to easily run up a flight a stairs.  How it feels to have a strong core. How it made me sing better.

I need to remember how it feels when I look at something I can't do, focus and do it.  How it feels to accomplish something that seems impossible.

Doing a pull up seems impossible to me.  Easily running 400m seems like a dream-- 200m is a stretch.  Easily doing regular push-ups.

I can't.

I can't do any of those things. Yet.

I need to do this for me.  Not to be skinny.  Not to lose weight.  But to remember that I am brave.  That I am not defined by a title on a business card.  That anything is possible. 

I need to do this so I can find the girl I "knew when."

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Grilling Fruit

This blog is a little different than most of my blogs.  No funny stories.  No moral diatribes.

It is about grilling fruit.

If you know me, you know my idea of heaven involves unlimited ice water within easy reach, fluffy dogs who don't shed and all the food is grilled (oh, and I have my 15 year old body, but my 42 year old brain).

The first meal I made my husband was grilled turkey burgers stuffed with feta and topped with caramelized apples and onions.  He is a hot dog/hamburger guy so it's fortunate I didn't scare him off.  Well, most days.  Today we are on each other's last nerve, but that's a blog for a different day...

ANYHOW, I picked up one of those check-out recipe books from Martha Stewart's FOOD magazine.  I got it because I do like to grill pizza on the BBQ, but I can never get it quite right.  My toppings need more time than the crust.  I still have issues with it.

She had a whole section on grilling fruit.  I like grilled fruit, but despite having made about every meat and seafood dish possible on the grill, as well as many vegetables, I really hadn't grilled fruit.

Wow- was I missing out.

Tonight I made honey mustard salmon on a cedar plank with roasted rosemary olive oil potatoes on the charcoal grill.  While we were eating I threw bananas on the grill as the coals cooled.

Here's how you do it...

Put the bananas on the grill.  When the skins turn nearly black, they are done.



They will puff up and they might even crack a little.  Don't panic.

We then carefully slice them open lengthwise, making them into boats.  We top them with caramel sauce, a little whipped cream and then some cinnamon sugar.  It's like a bananas foster in the skin.


I also like to grill peaches and plums-- actually any stone fruit in general.  I split them, take out the pit (or stone), sprinkle a little cinnamon on top and put a tiny bit of butter where the pit was.


We usually top those with plain Greek yogurt and cinnamon.  Sometimes we add vanilla granola and it's like a fruit crisp.

Without the clean up!!

Apples, I take out the core from the top, leaving the bottom in tact, fill it with a little cinnamon and butter.  And when I say a little butter, we're talking a  tiny bit. 

The options are really unlimited.  I think adding a little butter (not to the bananas), gives it a nice glaze.  If the fruit is extremely ripe, you won't need any.  The natural sugars create a fantastic glaze on their own.

So this summer, before you turn the grill off after taking your hamburgers off the grill, consider tossing on the apples or pears that have seen better days.  Or the bananas that are a little speckled.  Or the peaches and plums that got a little bruised on the way home from the grocery.

It's a quick, easy, healthy (depending on how much whipped cream you add, of course!) & delicious dessert. My kids love it. I love it.  And today, I don't care if my husband does. But he usually does, for the record.