Open (and Shut)

The 5-week competition/slog/drama/party/inspiring saga that is the Crossfit Open (v. 2015 , natch) has come and gone. Differently this year for moi, however, was the intentional and direct approach I took to letting all the internal pressure I usually created in the past to just, well, CHILLAX. My goal was to take each workout like just another workout, and most importantly to just have a freakin’ damn good time. That was, and staunchly remains, the biggest reason I do this darn sport, after all.

And guess what?

Central East Worldwide

There it is: 5 weeks of fun; cheering on other people; cheering on myself; successes and misses; surprises and joys; team spirit and #TeamAvengers; and as always, people accomplishing great stuff and pulling feats out of the depths of themselves that they never knew existed. Like I said, inspiring.

And as for me, when all the cards came to rest, despite having just been back to the regular CrossFit Brigade programming for the past year or so and no real extra training, I still managed to squeeze out a top 2% performance in both my region and the world. I would have been truly pleased with wherever I landed this year, but this makes it all the more satisfying. It solidifies for me that all the work and time I’ve put in over these last 5 years of CrossFit has clearly made me stronger, healthier, more skilled, and more resistant. I truly know now that I’ll be able to carry over the results of this work for the rest of my life, in some fashion or another.

Cheers to another great Open season, everyone! 🙂

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State of the Union

Greetings and salutations, salut et bonjour, yo and what’s the haps.

Let’s just start this all up again, shall we? Good? Good.

KNITWEAR

I made some cute things in 2014, including a pair of socks of which I do not have any pictures (but they were made with a wonderfully smooshy hand-painted sock yarn, in a colorway that when finished, made the socks kind of look like Big Bird’s feet. Unintentional, but the recipient seemed tickled pink regardless).

Items I did end up photographing were as follows:

A L’illo sweater for my new nephew, Oliver.

The lovely Meagan serving as a clothes hanger

The lovely Meagan serving as a clothes hanger

You may indeed notice when clicking on the link above, that the original pattern was executed in a much more typical baby color of light blue. Knowing the heritage and stock that this new little person is produced from, however, I contemplated the universe and came to the conclusion that this little fellow would not be a smooshy baby only, but nay, most assuredly a gentleman and a scholar, one whom surely would appreciate donning a garment of a dark green tweed/brown colorway, perfect to wear whilst giving lectures on string theory and cognitive dissonance. Or maybe I just wanted to make him look like Mr. Rogers.

Also, the wee wooden buttons have sheep on them, natch.

Next up, a Drop-Stitch Cowl for my sis Andrea for Christmas:

drop-stitch cowl

(Modeled by yours truly)

This one was easy and super fun to knit. I also thought it fitting that Andrea had actually purchased the yarn for this one for me a few years ago, so in a way you could say I was regifting. Call me cheap 😉

I also banged out a pair of French Press Felted Slippers for my sis-in-law, Nikkii, and I was pleased as punch about how these turned out. You see, I had never felted anything before, and while I purchased this pattern years ago and was sort of saving it until I thought my skills had caught up to my creative desires, I was tempting fate a bit waiting until I had no time to lose to whip these up. But sure enough, I gave it a go, felted the crap out out them until they got small enough to fit a leprechaun Nikki’s feet, and beep bop boop, slippers!

IMG_1898

In action on my feet

In action on my feet

At the moment, my current project is a Dr. Who scarf and for those of you that know what that means, you might imagine I have quite a ways to go before I am finished. You would be correct.

FITNESS

I have vacillated this year between working out feverishly to compete at a high level in CrossFit (think 6 days a week, often twice a day), to dropping off to a nearly alien frequency of only three times a week period, trying to gain muscle, trying to gain weight, trying to lose fat, etc. 2014 was a year of some mental trials, but I am happy to say that I think I have landed in a place with my fitness and health where I am mentally the happiest I have been in some time, and it feels so much better. For me, this amounts to around 4 days a week of CrossFit, just the regular box programming, sprinkled in with some shadow boxing/kickboxing, and infrequent jogs. While I am still quite cardio-strong and can kick butt in metcons, I have noticed a decline in my absolute strength in the big lifts. Regardless, I am still a stud and can hang with the badasses at the gym (usually ;)). Most importantly, I am having FUN!

FOOD

Basically, 2014 was the year of YUM. Buying new items (chicken feet, anyone?), trying at-home versions of my fav restaurant foods (Tom Kha Gai soup, OMG), and relaxing a bit on the paleo (holy HELL I forgot how much I love rice and oatmeal. Not together) has been part and parcel with my more relaxed attitude towards the fitness piece. I am as of today going to dial it back in again after the holidays (which were spent in Chicago, and I am fairly certain one day in there I ate my weight in deep-dish pizza) and working towards a certain physique, but it’s nothing crazy and it will be easy to do. I really love cooking, y’all; eating healthy would be so frickin’ hard if you didn’t like to be in the kitchen, just saying.

BONUS UPDATE: TAKING RISKS

I am learning to be my own best cheerleader. I am learning to love myself with more audacity and consistency. I am finding out that I CAN do what I need to do to make myself happy. And I am finding out that, if I have a seemingly terrible topic to breach with someone I care about, if I sit and stew with it until my belly is filled with snakes and I feel sick every time I think about it, if I take a huge breath, and just SAY IT because I know the outcome will make me happier in life, even if it may end up hurting someone else…

…sometimes, just sometimes, the outcome of that leap of faith and trust in my own feelings may very well end up being not a sad end, but a renewed step forward, and a optimistic view of what may become. And THAT, my friends, was unexpected indeed.

And on that note…

I am late to the party on this one, as I didn’t have an end of 2014 post this year, so in anticipation of 2015 full of life and personal growth,

May your food be primal and delicious, your workouts be fulfilling and challenging, and your knit projects be snag-free!

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BEAT

Today, I laced up my shoes and set out for a jog, Daft Punk in earbuds, slowly pacing and letting the beats match my footfalls as the pavement passed behind me.

I rarely run more than a mile in my daily routine, and often then it’s chunked up into 400 m increments. 400 m, kettlebell swings. 400 m, pull-ups. 400 m, overhead squats with a barbell. And the like.

Today, I laced up my shoes and just moved at a constant, deliberate speed.

Using the wintry air to both get in and out of my head. Thoughts coming and reflections going with every breath. Every so often a whoosh of an exhale, mindfully pushing stress and tension into the atmosphere, and inhaling clean oxygen, fueling my blood cells and my brain.

Today, I laced up my shoes, and took off on a “Let’s see how far I get” sort of run, that turned into, “One more block I guess,” and then, “Just up this hill…and then that next hill, I suppose,” and then turning about-faced when finally at the top of those crests, and seeing how far I had come, and the acme of Lookout Mountain far in the distance, stretching its gaze down onto the path I had snaked with my strides.

Today, I laced up my shoes and ran. When I got home I saw I had gone nearly 6 miles.

And I ran the whole freakin way.

~happy new year~

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What I Did on My Christmas Vacation

Twas the weekend before Christmas, when all in my abode,
I was rushing and packing and on super knit mode.
I was geared up for a long drive to family so dear,
and visions of this stunner would sure soon appear.

What a hottie. She gets it from her older sis, clearly.

What a hottie. She gets it from her older sis, clearly.

I filled up the car with trinkets and toys,
some for the girls and some for the boys.

(A tiny interlude in the midst of this tale,
but I had to show off this most cutest female
baby clothing I made, for a dear friend’s new kid;
I was pressed to finish it but I’m so glad I did.)

Baby knits

When I arrived at the house I was jumping with glee,
for at the door waiting was hot mama and baby!

Happy baby

Mama and baby

X-Mas eve was upon us, when all in her bed,
little Elliot dreamt of soccer balls flying ’round her head.

soccer

Now Carly, now Michael, now Elliot three;
what gracious hosts and a lovely little family!

Family thumb sucking

When I in my PJs and presents all wrapped,
had just settled down with a nice strong nightcap,
when there at the door there arose such a bang,
I slammed down the drink and then up I sprang.

T’was Oma! And Gramps! From far away Maine!
(and yes, that’s my mama, of Masters CrossFit fame.)

Oma

Gramps

elle gramps

On the day of the Yule we all created a feast,
even if I did get my hand stuck up a beast.
(And pardon you must for my stringy-ass hair,
but I’m pretty sure I lost my hair tie up there.)

Lissa Mike

silly mike lissa

Three generations of ladies!

Three generations of ladies!

We ate very hearty, drank lots and spoke long,
and even had time for a good photobomb.

High chair baby

sisters

Photobomb

Gramps read us a story,
we got ready for bed,
and Mike even found a crown
for his gigantic head!

night before xmas

Mike crown

We all snuggled in and the very next day,
I was so very excited to give knitwear away!

The gloves were a hit,

Gloves

the infinity scarf a hoot,

Scarf

and there even were sightings of some wee tiny fruit!

fruit 2

Fruit 1

Even Windsor the dog got in on the gag,
and luckily Elle had a purse for all of her swag.

elle winnie

Purse

The holiday was restful, and made me recall
what I love and hold dear on this earth above all.

Family, friends, good cheer, and good eats,
love, my knitting, and tiny little feet.

Feet

It was over too quickly, but a wonderful break.
A long drive to PA that I was happy to make.

And as I got in my car and drove back to the South,
“Merry Christmas to all…ELLE! NOT IN YOUR MOUTH!”

Lissa

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RESET

Breathe…in…and out…

I don’t want to dwell too much on everything else I have already said here. Again. I am embarrassed and saddened to claim the truth about this following statement, but after much reflection I can say with confidence that 2013 was the hardest, saddest, and most challenging year of my entire three decades.

I am embarrassed to be saying this because I in my heart of hearts still don’t feel quite right that I had such an utter and complete mental and emotional fallout from an event that I deem to be “not a BFD” in the grand scheme of the world’s problems (and that “not allowing myself to feel my feelings for their own sake” is a whole ‘nuther thing I’ve got to work out as well).

I am saddened because I cannot believe I have merely “existed” for the better part of 7 months when I am in the prime of my life, healthy, successful, and–and here I’m going to work on another issue, which is accepting and believing compliments that others bestow upon me, so garsh darndit, this is going to sound conceited but I swear these are not my words–beautiful, funny, sexy, smart, young, strong, and brave. Brave, can you believe it? My friends and loved ones think I am all these things and more, and I feel like I have all of these inherent qualities and still wasted the last large chunk of my life, sad sad sad.

BUT…there is always a but…BUT 2013 is over. FINI. I have plans in the works to move me forward in 2014. I don’t know where I’ll end up, but I certainly cannot go back the way I came.

And while the overall tone of this post seems very dark and grey, I will leave you with the same well wishes I always have, three times before, on my end of year post. Because yes, during the midst of all this pain and crap and terrible terrible year:

I kept knitting like a champ;

I kept cooking yummy food;

I kept working out and even met big goals in the gym.

My body and brain know what to do; it’s the heart that needs to catch up.

So with that, I love each and every one of you, and from my heart to yours,

May your food be primal and delicious, your workouts be fulfilling and challenging, and your knit projects be snag-free!

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::focus::

A very strange thing happens to me every time I treat myself to a delicious and icy sorbet dessert from Milk & Honey in downtown Chattanooga (setting aside the oddity that I am more and more preferring their sorbets rather than their gelatoes, as I have never been a fruity dessert sort of gal).

Their sorbets are delicate, complex, and so cold. Refreshing and not in the least overly-sweet. Colorful and vibrant thanks only to the raw ingredients. The last few times I have indulged in a craving, I have strolled slowly out of the store to my car, nibbling in small, little, tentative bites, closing my eyes to allow each unique flavor coat my tongue and fire off energy to my brain.

All wonderful, yes. Good.

What is strange then, you ask, about this admittedly hedonistic and decidedly non-paleo delight?

As I taste and enjoy these treats, I find myself needing to shut off the radio, as it is too distracting, and my eyes drift downwards into my cup, my spoon swirling slowly yet decisively through the sorbet, and I realize that these are so good, SO complex and layered, that I am all of a sudden 100%, utterly, and totally focused on my food.

This is beyond a sense of, “Wow. This tastes amazing.” No, this is full attention to the flavors and the sugars as they roll over my tongue. A recent purchase consisted of these three gems: Salted Pink Grapefruit. Triple Melon Basil. Malbec and Cherries. Each a perfect segue into the next, with the heaviest and most decadent saved for last, so as not to overpower the others. I gazed down into my cup, watching as each little bite made the whole colorful mess disappear. I finished, and swallowed slowly, and closed my eyes at the mix of all three, lingering on my tastebuds. I exhaled slowly, the last of the icy cold leaving my mouth as my lips warmed back up, flushed with the remembrance of sugar.

I had just taken a full 10 minutes to do NOTHING else but focus on something. Some one single thing. Something maybe not very important, but something nonetheless.

As you might surmise, this is not a post about ice cream.

Ian and I separated about a month ago.

This…this, ungodly awful, horrible, THING. It is big. Really big. So big and huge and disgusting that it is all I can do many days to keep myself from clamping my hands over my ears and burying myself deep back into the covers of my bed. My lonely bed, in my lonely house.

I can’t and don’t want to talk too much here about it all, as I have talked enough about it for five lifetimes already and I don’t know what else I have left to get out.

I will say this: if something as simple, and innocuous, and wonderfully, blessedly ordinary as a spectacular cup of artisan sorbet is enough to pull me back to myself; to rip my heart away from the hurt and the pain and the whirl of learning how to be me again without a second half; to point me inward to where I can only possibly set my mind on one little thing at a time, enjoy that thing, and then breathe deep at the finish of it like I am waking up from a cool nap, well then…

…maybe, just maybe…I can open my eyes wide and find gifts such as these everywhere around me…gifts that can push me forward, propelling me beyond and through this THING to whatever is next…

…focus…

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F.O.

F.O. In knitting speak this means “finished object.” Or frickin…owesome. True story.

But yes, you know what that means! The ugliest hat known to man practically flew off the needles, and is currently warming my head with double-stranded, day-glo goodness.

See? Ta dah!

20130420-223312.jpg

20130420-223350.jpgNot too shabby, eh? Once I had just gotten over the initial “holy crap you expect me to knit in the round with a strand of yarn IN EACH HAND ARE YOU NUTS” out of my system, it became quite easy.

(MySpace selfie!)

20130420-223715.jpg(Does anyone else even remember having a MySpace for a hot second?)

I also told boyfriend to watch out because soon I will be making him sweaters with cat pawprints and flowers on them. He will rue the day he met me, muah hahahahah!

20130420-224441.jpgAhem. Sorry, still coming down from my knitting high. (And my high of back squatting 220 el-bees today at a body weight of 137, what what?!!!)

Anyhoo and honestly, I enjoy the warmth of this hat, but it’s a little, well, shall we say, rainbow sherbet for my tastes.

Does anyone have a young carefree child (or perhaps a blind friend you want to play a joke on) who would like a free hat? It’s yours if you want it, just let me know in the comments!

20130420-224518.jpg

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