Making Progress Each Day

Today was a really rough WOD.  It just was.  The challenge was to your body moving when your mind is screaming, “You have GOT to be kidding me!!” 

Grim. 

I put up my first 65lb thruster.  In fact, I did seven of them.  Eight if you count the warm up one, which I would like to count.  So there, I did eight 65lb thrusters.  I had never done over 45 lbs on that before, so that was very cool.  I am really trying to get prepared for the Open, so I am pushing as hard as I can. 

Rx’d that part. 

The next part…well…burpees and kettle bell swings.  I could not get the 35lb kettle bell over my head.  But I kept moving more than I have in the past.  And I did not throw up.  That was amazing. 

I will take whatever improvement I can get.

And I am grateful for my workout buddy who promised that she would not leave me behind.  She didn’t.  I was less than 25 seconds behind her. 

So I am chugging along trying to make a little progress each day…and praying that the first WOD of the Open does not include thrusters. 

That would be terrible. 

But today turned out to be pretty awesome.

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

Image

Brussels sprouts.  Growing up, I hated these little shrunken heads of cabbage.  But then one of my CrossFit coaches brought these little bundles of joy to a Paleo tasting we were having at the box.  Willing to give them a try was I. 

Mind blown. 

They were yummy. 

She was gracious enough to share her recipe for that particular Brussels sprouts dish.  Cool.

Then I got brave and started to try some things on my own with them. 

You will need:

A few slices of bacon

Fresh Brussels sprouts

Onion

Garlic

Cut the bottom ends off of the Brussels sprouts.  Then cut them in half.  Set aside.  Chop up the onion. Set aside.

Cut the bacon into smaller pieces and add to skillet (I like my iron skillet for this).  Let the bacon cook until the fat starts to render.  Then add the Brussels sprouts and onion and cook until the bacon is almost done and the sprouts are getting a good char to them.  Then run the garlic through your garlic press, add to skillet, and cook a few more minutes.  The bacon should be done by this point. 

Add pepper to taste and serve.

Enjoy! 

Improperly Labeled

Years ago, I sat with one of my students going over his writing trying to help him get his thoughts organized. 

I can’t do it,” he explained.  “I am just dumb.  I’ve been told that for a long time.”

My heart broke for this young man. 

However, one day he saw something in my room – can’t remember what – that he determined was going to injure me or collapse or both.  He immediately pulled tools out of his backpack (guns were not an issue in this district; everyone had them for hunting, so there was not an issue), and fixed the issue. 

I had solved the mystery.  I had to make his assignments something that he could piece together like a puzzle.  He was good if he knew that he could take it apart and reassemble it. 

He passed the state test, passed my class, and for the next two years, every time I brought my car to the school’s autoshop for repair, he took charge and got it fixed.  He even managed to figure out why my car wanted to die every time I turned right, and it never happened again.

And he gave me a screwdriver for Christmas one year because he said I needed to be able to fix things myself.  Best gift ever.

This young man was far from dumb.  He had been a victim of improper labeling, and he unfortunately had bought in to it.  No one proved anything to the contrary to him, until he figured out what he could really do. 

So many of us are like this young man:  improperly labeled. 

My improper label was fat.  And I bought into it hook, line, and sinker. 

I was 115lbs in high school.

Fat.    

“You have such a pretty face,” people would tell me.  “If only you…”

Weren’t fat?    

I could lose weight, exercise. 

Still fat. 

Skip meals, diet, hide under large clothes.

Fat. 

Years later, swollen from injections of Pergonal, Repronex, and Bravelle, I could look in the mirror and not see someone who had been run through the physical and emotional trials of the assisted reproduction wringer. 

I saw fat. 

It has taken a good, solid year of an incredibly supportive CrossFit box telling me that the scale did not define me for me to finally start to see the light.  Scales are stupid.  Getting better every day is what is truly important.  That drive to improve defines us, not some stupid scale. 

I have to define myself, and stop buying in to the improper label. 

I am strong.

I am healthy.

I am not a number on a scale. 

I do not have to lose weight to be beautiful.  

I already am. 

Ice Day Gratitude

Today is a snow day.  On the Gulf Coast, this is almost unheard of, as this is our second snow day in two weeks. 

Maybe ice day would be more accurate. 

At this point, the forecasters have no idea what is going on.  It will snow.  It won’t snow.  We will get ice.  We will get sleet.  We may get nothing. Who knows?

What I do know is when my husband took the dog out right at sunrise, there were a few flakes blowing around.  Very few.  But enough to notice. 

Whatever happens, I am grateful for the decision that the school districts made to not ask people to get out and drive in this mess. 

And I am grateful for so much more.

The fireplace.

Warm, fuzzy socks.

Being able to sleep past 5am.

The respite for my son who was going to have two tests, a quiz, and a major paper due today.

Hot coffee and hot chocolate. 

The time to knit.

Baking muffins.

The possibility that we still might see some snow.

Having time just to hang out with my son. 

My dog, who will guard us all day.

My cat, who will sleep on my feet all night. 

I am grateful. 

Cooperate, Citrus!

Image

This picture has been taped to the kitchen door in my house for several years.  It is one of my favorites. 

It was an advertisement for something that I can’t remember – lemon zester, juicier, or some sort of magazine maybe.  I don’t know.  But it was one of those things that hit me just as the right moment, so I kept it. 

That moment was several years ago.  I was the NHS sponsor at my school, and the committee had to finalize selection for the group.  As always, some students were not selected, and their parents were very unhappy about this.  Somehow, every year, it was totally MY FAULT that their child was not selected, usually followed by their reasoning that I did not like their child. Yep, because I am totally in charge of selection and there is no committee involved and the sponsor gets to choose only his or her favorites to be inducted…NOT.  For those of you not familiar with the process, there is a committee who makes the selection and the NHS sponsor has zero voice in the voting or discussion.  But since my name was on the paperwork, I was the one that the parents called, emailed, demanded meetings with immediately despite the fact I was teaching class, met with the principal and headmaster about me, or followed me in the halls demanding an explanation as to why I did not like their child.  And they could get very nasty and personal, no matter how logical I was.  This one year was particularly rough, and I was quickly getting to the end of what I could tolerate and still be civil.    

And then, just to have five minutes to think about something else, I picked up a magazine, and there it was:

You will not be brought down by uncooperative citrus.

I laughed until I cried. 

I would not be brought down by uncooperative citrus. 

There was nothing I could do to change the situation or their reaction to it, but I could change my reaction.  And I could use it as a teaching moment, for them and for myself.  I refused to let that big lemon life was handing me sit on me and take charge.  I had to refuse to let them take charge of my emotions by simply reacting; I had to act. 

There have been many more times since then that I have had to deal with the uncooperative citrus of life.  I am no longer teaching high school or an NHS sponsor, so that is not the issue.  But there are so many time when things happen that I simply cannot control – events running late, students who refuse to follow rules, administrative decisions, traffic, weather, the loaded bar that won’t go up or squats that don’t happen in CrossFit, the dog getting sick on the floor, people who blame me for things that are not my fault – but I can control my reaction to it.  Sure, I react to it and feel anger or frustration or hurt, but I am just stubborn enough to not let that get the best of me.  It is what I do on the other side of that moment of frustration or anger or hurt that makes the difference.  I have to act. 

It is perfectly okay to be upset, sad, frustrated, angry, or hurt, but it is what you do on the other side of those that is the most important.  How do you pick yourself up and get going again? 

How do you refuse to be brought down by uncooperative citrus? 

Bags, Clutter, and Food – Trying to Get It All Together

Image

January seems to go on forever, so that gives those of us who are trying to “pull it together” plenty of time to work.  I’m still working on my stash of cotton yarn, and have completed two bags this week.  The blue one I got finished during the football games on Sunday, the orange one I worked on in little bits during the week, and larger bits during the ice day yesterday.  I’ll keep working and see how much more I can get done this week, but working through all of this yarn may have to extend into February.  I have a few days of inservice during that first week in February, and that is prime knitting time. 

We’ve decluttered and moved all of that junk out of the house.  We’ve also packed away items that we simply do not have the space to continue to display.  I have a few more little corners that I want to really clean, but it is not cluttered – just dusty.  I will also start seriously evaluating the wardrobe next month and see which spring items need to go to the resale shop. 

Image

The biggest thing I got done this week was cooking.  Since we had an ice day, I took advantage of it and made several meals ahead.  Most of these are in the freezer to use as quick meals during the weeks ahead.  I made butternut squash soup, mini meatloaves, pumpkin chili, round steak and tomatoes, and chicken enchilada stew.  Not pictured are the ingredients for the muffins my son made, which was his contribution to the day.  We ran out of eggs, or he would have made two more batches. 

I know that I will never be as organized and together as my mind tells me I should be.  But, I feel like I am making significant progress in at least making the best use of what I have, and lightening my load of stuff when I know I am not making any use of those items. 

Ice Day

Image

We started seeing teeny tiny snowflakes about 8:30 last night.  They weren’t huge and fluffy, but they were tiny and mixed in with the ice pellets and rain.  But when the wind died down, we could see them floating around. 

Schools started announcing closures and delayed starts yesterday afternoon.  The Department of Transportation started asking people to stay off the roads as well, but in case people had to be out, they were starting to spread the de-icing spray on the overpasses and flyovers.   

And when I hauled myself out from under the electric blanket at 5am this morning, most of the schools in the area had already closed.  I got official word that my school was closed about 45 minutes later, but I had already gone back to bed.  Since we are a private school, we followed the decision of our closer school districts, and they had all announced they were closing by 5:15. 

With all of this preparation, you would think we were expecting a blizzard and ice storm here.  But the truth is that we are expecting a winter mix and ice, which is enough to make us completely immobile as an area because we live on the Gulf Coast and are simply not equipped to function if it is below freezing.  Ask me to function in over 100 degree heat for days, hunker down and ride out a hurricane, or navigate flood waters, and I am all over it.

Function when it is icy and below freezing?  Ummmm…no. 

My husband had to go in to work today, because hospitals do not have the option to close for bad weather, and someone has to keep the technology running.  That someone is him.  He had a route that did not involve overpasses or bridges or flyovers, so he made it safely.

My son and I are hanging out at the house today, watching the continuous coverage of people stuck or sliding on overpasses and flyovers, children jumping on frozen trampolines, and animals in ski parkas.  We’re going to do some baking today, drink hot chocolate, and just hang out together. 

We are all pretty grateful that we did not have to drive the 45 minutes to school today in these conditions.  The news is covering part of the route we take each morning, and it is a mess.  I am actually pretty grateful for all of the schools and businesses who are telling people to stay home and stay out of the mess. 

So we are going to stay home, stay warm, and be amazed by the icicles on our palm tree.   

Image