For those of you interested, I posted a little update over at Bodies in Motivation.  

I’m still amazed at the results yielded by a tiny tweak in my diet and workout routine.  This isn’t going to turn into an “I Love CrossFit” blog, but some of the strides I’ve made with health and fitness this year just feel like a big deal to me, so hopefully you don’t mind when I share.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday! 


Moving Mountains One WOD at a Time

My first Crossfit workout was on October 9th.  It’s hard to believe it’s only been a few months.  It took me probably a year to finally get the guts to show up to one of the Saturday Drop In Workouts and now it feels like something I have been doing my whole life.  On my first day I was in a state of panic from the moment I showed up to the moment I left.  Well if I’m being honest, at the end of the day the panic had morphed into a low grade exhaustion, but you know what I’m getting at.  I dragged Garrett with me as my security blanked and into the box we went — first getting a mini tour, a brief synopsis of what Crossfit was all about, an overview of the Paleo diet, an introduction to The White Board, and then we warmed up and did our first WOD — The Newbie WOD. 

3-5 rounds for time of the following: 

20 box jumps
10 push ups
10 sit ups
10 squats

It seemed innocuous enough, no scary names or Olympic Weightlifting.  No weird abbreviations or unintelligible combinations of exercises.  Plain and simple — I imagine they do this on purpose.   

I gave it my all, I survived 3 rounds and then I had had enough.  18 minutes and 32 seconds

I had pushed myself enough just showing up, frankly, so I was ok only completing the minimum.  I modified the box jumps by doing step ups on a 12 inch box, but overall felt relatively pleased with my performance.  Then I went home and was sore for 5 days.  Hella sore, actually.  Like don’t drink any water because then I will just have to sit down to go to the bathroom sore, if you know what I’m saying.

So last night when I headed into the gym, guess what showed up on The White Board?  A little revisit to The Newbie WOD for comparison.  A little check-in on the progress.  And after 2 months and 2 weeks my workout shook out as follows:

I completed all 5 rounds (woot!)
20 box jumps (this time I used the 20 inch box — still modified though for my precious knees!)
10 push ups
10 sit ups
10 squats

Finished in 14:15. 

This morning, I’m a little sore but nothing crazy.  Mostly my upper body is sore because we worked Shoulder Presses for about 15 minutes before we even started that newbie WOD, so it was like two workouts in one!  

I felt pretty amazed last night in the obvious increase in my physical endurance.  After only two months!  One of the things I tell myself now when I’m mid-workout and feel like I’m going to keel over and die is that I can stand around and have those thoughts and delay finishing my workout, or I can push through and think about how tired I am while getting one squat closer to being finished.  So my mental endurance is improving as well.  :)

It’s funny how sometimes we put off reaching for our goals because they seem so overwhelming or out of reach.  It seems like they would take too big of a commitment, or require a life U-turn of epic proportions and really, who has time for that?  What Crossfit has taught me in a very short amount of time is that sometimes you just have to show up and try hard.  

Holly’s New Rules For Life:
1.  Show Up
2.  Try Hard

You don’t have to be the best or the fastest or the strongest, you just have to keep showing up and ultimately you will get somewhere.  Sometimes you will get to where you thought you were going, and sometimes you will go even further than you thought you could.  They say if you want to move mountains you have to start with a single stone, right?  I’m so happy I lifted that first stone because now I’m dead lifting 220 lbs (that’s two supermodels!), shoulder pressing 80lbs (small children, anyone?), doing handstand push ups, squatting with barbells full of weight over my head, pushing and pulling myself and sweating through every goddamn t-shirt that I own.

But every time I look up at the horizon, that mountain gets just a little bit smaller.      

Before And After: Our Yards

So our front and backyard? 
Finally done. 
Actually, it’s been done for over a month now but I just haven’t had it in me to post the Before/After pics.  I know, I suck.  Part of the reason is because since finishing, it is almost painful to look at the before pictures.  It’s not that our new yard is so super fancy that it blows our old yard out of the water — I mean, come on, our budget was spent on really fabulous things like Extreme Trenching and Improving Drainage, etc so obviously this hampered the Porno Pool w/ Grotto, you know?  I just want you to manage your expectations here.  But my hesitation to post these pictures had more to do with the fact that every time look at the Befores, it is all I can do to not shout – I SWEAR WE WERE NOT WHITE TRASH!
But before I tell you the story of the yard, I feel like I should tell you the story of this house so you understand why the yard got to the condition that it was in.  It’s not like one day we just started throwing garbage in the backyard and stacking things – it was, er…well, a much more complicated process. 
So once upon a time in 1999 Garrett’s parents bought him this house when he went off to college.  They were assuming (quite intelligently, actually) that when he was done with college a few years later they could sell the house, recover their expenses, and pat themselves on the back for their smart investing. This was only possible for two reasons —  1)  Real Estate in Sacramento in 1999 was incredibly cheap  and 2)  Their son was an 80 year old man living in an 18  year old’s body and could responsibly care for a house at such a young age.  As you can imagine there was no way in hell my parents would ever have purchased me a house when I went off to college, and righfully so!  The only thing they didn’t anticipate was Garrett getting comfortable here and never wanting to leave (and who can blame him – our little house is really quite cozy) and that the real estate market would take a massive nose dive.  Have you heard?  It blows.  So for now we rent from his parents, live in sin, and it works out well for all involved. 
But back in 2007, after almost a decade of Garrett living there but before I moved in,  it was becoming apparent that the house needed a little updating.  It was about 900 square feet, had one bathroom, 3 tiny bedrooms, and only outdoor laundry.  Garrett and his parents hired a contractor and 6 months later basically had a brand new house.  It was still 3 bedrooms (though much roomier at 1200 square feet), but it had a second bathroom, a remodeled master suite, and an indoor laundry room.  Due to the dumpsters, tractors, contractors, and new foundations being laid though, what it DIDN’T have at the end of that 6 months were pretty yards.  The front and back yards died a horrible death and instantly got put on the the “Things To Do At Some Point When the Remodel is Done” list.  And then life went on for about 2 and a half years:  Garrett started a new job, we moved in together, we merged all sorts of aspects of our lives, Garrett quit the new job, and  it just never seemed like the right time to start a large scale yard remodel, so we didn’t. 
But by August of this year Garrett had quit the soul sucking full-time job and had been working part time for a few months.  We had fallen into a new life rhythm and it finally seemed like the time.  We started interviewing landscapers, getting quotes, and finally in September we started with the front yard looking like this:  

And come November, it started looking a little more like this:
A nice new driveway that can fit 3-5 cars now instead of just one.  And some low maintenance bark/shrubs/moss rock…see?

And inside that gate, a new little patio:

Of course now that the yard is done we have no Patio Furniture Budget, but that is neither here nor there.  

Now, onto the backyard!  

I just want you to remember to tell yourself that we are not white trash, mmmkay?

Here was our back patio and “lawn” before:

And what was left of my “Garden Beds”:

Here’s another look at what were my Garden Beds and our shed:

No, that is not where the Uni-bomber lives.  That’s our backyard!  

And of course, here was our lovely side yard:

But then November came, and after about a month of many strange men being at my house at all hours of the day 5 days a week (sometimes 6!) the yard began to look a bit more liveable.  

Now look at that side yard:  

Which leads right onto our new patio:

And look — we actually have a lawn now!

And Garden Beds that look like, come spring, they might actually grow things:

Though, uh, who is going to teach me how to garden now that I am responsible for 120 square feet of soil?  OY!  HALP!

Anyway, as you can see there is no Porno Pool to my dismay, but I am pretty happy that things are simple, clean, functional, and more importantly don’t make our neighbors think that we are total crazies!  

I am trying to convince Garrett that we should have our wedding here since we could easily fit 75 people in the back to witness a little holy matrimony.  Plus — it would be free!  (Well, the venue at least.) 

If you are interested in seeing more, all of the photos are here. 

The Travel Bug Has Bitten

Because I love clean cut beginnings and endings, and mostly because I love to do big picture planning, the end of the year always appeals to me.  For the same reasons Mondays actually appeal to me also, but I know I am slightly in the minority on that, so let’s forget about that for a minute.  I think this makes sense to a lot of people — the love for planning, but in practice I am slightly crazy at the end of the year, just ask Garrett.  I have been following him around for last couple of weeks talking about our 2011 travel plans and he keeps looking at me like, “Woman, can we get through Christmas already?” 


Anyway, we have a few trips that we have already agreed upon, plus a wishlist that I’m just putting out to the Universe in case it wants to drop some fabulous opportunity in my lap or something.    

January — The Great Southwest Road Trip 2011

photo credit
Since Garrett is back working the retail circuit, vacay in November and December is not an option.  His parents live on a ranch in New Mexico though and we really want to go see them.  I’ve never been to there house in the 5 years we’ve been dating if you can believe that?!?  So we’ve finally marked off two weeks in January to road trip our way out there, spent some quality time, and then fly home.  I’m really looking forward to it.  We are currently planning tentative stops in central/so-cal, and Arizona (his grandma lives there) plus 5 or 6 days in NM with the parentals.  I’m pretty excited about it seeing as I’ve never been to either state ever!  I’m definitely down for some suggestions of places to stop so if you have any let me know.

May — Playa del Carmen, Mexico with Garrett and his friends

photo credit
The boys are planning this one and I’m just showing up, which could be genius or a total nightmare.  I’m thinking it will be genius though and am getting pretty excited.  Mexico is another place I’ve never really been (Tijuana soooo doesn’t count!)  Also, it has been great workout motivation, if nothing else.  Can’t wait to be lying on a Carribbean beach with a giant drink in hand hanging out with fun people that know how to have a good time! 

August — San Diego for the BlogHer?

Right now this is a maybe.  It’s so close so I feel like I should go, but honestly the thought of a million people I don’t know is sort of socially overwhelming.  Are you going?  Tell me you are going.  It will make me feel much better.  Besides I have gone to San Diego every year for the last 3 or 4 years, so it’s kind of A Must, I think or I may have withdrawals.

Fall 2011 — The Blathering, Austin TX
Both Garrett and I are OBSESSED with going to Austin, so I will have to figure out how the two of are going to travel there together plus have a girls weekend.  It can happen, I’m sure of it. 

Probable other trips with no determined time:
Seattle Again — Seattle and I fell in love at first sight and I am convinced we must return! 
Portland — why not just squeeze it in with another Pacific Northwest adventure?

Trips to find time for (and hey,  money!  Universe do you hear me?): 
Boston — How have I not been here yet?
Maui Again — I know nothing will compare to the first time, but I would really like to get back there again for some beaching and frosty umbrella drinks. 

Where do you want to go in 2011?

Asked and Answered

Friday night after a long week, Garrett and I sat down over a glass of wine and started talking about the ups and downs of our day.  When I got to the downs I told Garrett about how I was was a little bummed that we didn’t get a Christmas tree this year.  We don’t have kids, but we’re pretty festive and we had talked about getting a tree this year (since we didn’t last year) and decided to definitely do it. 

First we had planned to go right after Thanksgiving —  but honestly, after running the 5K, the siren song of having 3 more days off just to relax had a greater pull than the idea of having a festive and decorated house.  So I lit a balsam scented candle and said we’d do it next weekend.  Then the following weekend had us attending 2 parties, with one very late night out so come Sunday we lit the candle again and decided we’d go next weekend.  Oops, except “next weekend” was this last weekend, and this last weekend Garrett was heading out of town.  Unless we wanted to go the weekend before Christmas and do a rush job — and I didn’t mostly because I’m morally opposed to paying $50 for a tree that is only going to be up for a week — it was looking like we weren’t going to be getting a tree, and I was bummed.  

Mostly I was bummed because I am dying to replace the memory of the last time we got a Christmas tree.  I’ve told you about this, haven’t I?  How we marched down to Home Depot, picked out the prettiest tree on the lot, smugly tied it to the roof of our car, and then realized that we had tied our doors closed?  Yeah, not my sharpest moment. 

Anyway, so no sooner do I express my dissatisfaction with our Christmas Tree Situation and my phone buzzes.  It’s a new text message from my cousin’s husband saying:  “Want a Free Christmas Tree?”  And for a minute I felt like I was on candid camera or something, but obviously without hesitation I said YES!!!  And 4 hours later we had a tree in our garage.  That he delivered!  Saving me from tying my doors closed or tying it to myself or something equally as unsavory!  It was a huge tree, actually and it needed a little surgery before it could come inside, if you know what I’m saying.  So  Garrett handled the actually trimming of the branches and stump, and I handled the light and ornament trimming while he was out of town.  And it’s so cute!  My mom came over, we busted out all my childhood ornaments, played cheesy Christmas music, and by Saturday night we had this:  

Except imagine it looking even better because I take terrible pictures! 

The house smells fantastic, it is beautiful to see at night, and even though it takes up half of our tiny little living room — I LOVE IT. 

I think I’m going to call it my own little Christmas Miracle.  Well, you know, unless Santa shows up at my door with the winning lotto ticket.   

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