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| transparency |

I find transparency difficult. It wasn’t until very recently that I said the word ex-husband out loud, and it wasn’t until even more recently that I began to share little tidbits of my life before the heartbreak. Because the moments weren’t all bad. In fact, there were so many good moments that it made the bad hurt that much more. Transparency is difficult for me because in order to be transparent I have to have found a level of acceptance first. And I mean “found” in the loosest of definitions–more like I started to unearth acceptance in the same way that a paleontologist begins a very long, drawn out fossil dig.

I spend a lot of time ignoring things. I ignore it, I pack it down, I bury it, whatever it takes to remove that feeling/thought/memory from the here and now. I know very well that this is a terrible coping scheme. I also know that everything I bury will eventually be uncovered. And yet I do it anyway.

Writing has always been a therapeutic outlet of mine. As a wildly closed off introvert, I find feelings so much easier to share through a written medium. I haven’t been transparent in a long while, and as things I’ve buried are now rising from the dead I figured now would be as good a time as any.

Here’s some transparency to start. I am a 26 year old divorcee. I have not dated since my divorce, and I don’t know if I believe that I’ll find love again. I concentrate daily on reminding myself of three things: I am enough, I am valuable, and I love myself. I’m often unsuccessful in believing my own reminders. I am bent, but not broken. I believe, deep down, that I am better for having experienced each of my uniquely painful struggles–but I am not foolish enough to pretend like I liked any of them. I am not noble. I am often mad and bone tired. I am flawed, but I’m working on it.

| optimism |

I used to be optimistic about pretty much everything. I probably called myself a realist, but truth be told, I always held suspicion that things would work for the better. Now, I don’t do that. Now, I try to get through the day without thinking of the many “taboo” subjects that will make me crumble into a thousand pieces. I try not to focus too much on the future or the past, kind of like walking around with your eyes unfocused. I think about what I’m going to do with my day, and if I can’t think of enough things to fill it, I sleep, read, or work out. I need to keep moving. I don’t know where I’d be without the gym. It’s what keeps me getting up in the morning and getting dressed. It gives me purpose. That’s why it’s so often my source of happiness for my 100 days challenge. Which, by the way, has been pretty difficult. It’s sad to get to the end of a day and say to yourself, I have to find something to make me happy today.

| days three, four, and five |

day three

IMG_1779day five

Day three was fun, I got my first chest to bar pull up and was able to do more than just the 10 reps of overhead squats I thought I would be able to. I felt pretty darn victorious getting that chest to bar, even though I had to switch grip. I went on to get 10 during the WOD.

Day four, eek. I really struggled finding something to be happy about on this day. I ended up finding my small moment of happiness in a candy bar, sadly. What a fat girl thing to do.

Day five, today. It was actually a good morning. I woke up to an empty house and a non-whining dog. Was able to get back in bed after mixing my morning protein shake, and watched some good classic Office.

| day two was a stretch |

unnamedToday my happiness existed in a bowl of freshly cut strawberries and sugar. Aaand not much else. I felt terrible today, sore shoulders, upset stomach, headaches on and off… all of that led to me not doing 14.2 today. I didn’t need any more of a put-me-down and that’s all that 14.2 will be for me. I’ll do the 10 overhead squats no problem, then I’ll spend the rest of the 3 minutes just trying to get a damn chest to bar pull up. I’m incredibly frustrated that I just got pull ups recently and it’s already not good enough. Ugh.

 

| day one of happiness, supposedly |

the open

My choice for my first day of happiness is pretty oxymoronic. I chose the CrossFit Open 14.2 workout announcement, and it turns out it has basically two of my least favorite movements. Overhead squat, and chest to bar pull ups. I mean jeez, I just got a pull up a little over a week ago. Now I have to figure out how to get my chest all the way up to the bar. Gah!

Also, Hallie’s team (which I’ve been coaching with my dad) won their indoor winter lacrosse championship! Another happy moment.

 

| rope climbs and general hurdles |

 rope climb

I got my first rope climb today! Or rather, I climbed my first rope, but that doesn’t sound nearly as exciting for some reason. It’s another one of those things I didn’t really think I’d be able to do. I was always embarrassed at rope climbs in the military, thank God they didn’t come up often. I seriously couldn’t get more than a foot off the ground. Next big hurdle? Handstand push ups. I’ve got the handstand part down, now just for the strength to push back up. Ha!

I’m starting the 100 happy days challenge tomorrow. It’s not going to be easy, and even that’s an understatement. The big stuff in my life right now is pretty much anything but happy. The last thing I want to do is be happy, even for a moment in a day. I know that sounds stupid but I honestly just want to wallow. I want to not feel obligated and pressured to keep seeing the bright side, or cheer up because things will get better. I have no interest in being strong. And yet, I know that having even one small happy moment makes it possible for me to keep standing, and the anticipation of just one moment of normalcy and enjoyment is what gets me out of bed the next day.

If I’d started it today, my rope climb would have been my happy for the day. It feels invigorating to do something you thought was outside your abilities. And it tacks one tiny brick back onto my crumbled wall of self-esteem.

| such an on and off relationship |

My relationship with this blog is so off and on. I used to think I would be able to maintain it every day or every week for the rest of time. Ha, what was I thinking? Instead, it’s become something I turn to when I need it. And I’m way ok with that. Now, I need it, so here I am. Back to rant and brag and complain. Read at your own peril of annoyance.

The Crossfit Open 14.1 workout is over. Whew. It was a tough one that left you swearing and sweating up a storm after you were done. Then, you sucked it up and realized you’d have to come to terms with doing it again in hopes of getting a higher score. For those not a part of the Open, I’ll explain. The Crossfit Games have been held since 2007, putting a number of the top athletes in the world through a variety of workouts in the hopes of finding the fittest man and woman in the world. In 2011, they created the Crossfit Open, a way to pit yourself against the world’s top Crossfitters. They release workouts, you do them, and put your scores up on a leaderboard. Then you see where you stack up in the world and in your region. It’s exhilarating. This year, they’re releasing each workout on Thursdays in a live showdown between two Games athletes at 5 pacific time.  The first one was this past Thursday, a 10 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible within 10 minutes) of 30 double unders (the jump rope passes under your feet twice) and 15 power snatches (though they let you clean and jerk if you wanted). The weight was light, 75 pounds for men and 55 pounds for women. There are gobs of videos on the internet showing people’s efforts, just search “Crossfit Open 14.1.” The top woman in the world, Samantha Briggs, is also last year’s Fittest Woman and winner of the Games. She finished with 472 reps, or 10 rounds and 22 double unders. Holy crap. The top man? Dan Bailey with 461, or 10 rounds and 11 double unders.

In sad comparison, I only got 222 reps, or 4 rounds, 30 double unders, and 12 snatches. That puts me in the top 28% of women in both my region and the world. Since the scores are cumulative over the 5 weeks, I’m interested to see where I end up in the grand scheme of things. In the meantime, I’m trying to work on my weaknesses so I can complete all of the workouts no matter what they have in them. I just recently got pull ups, but I’m super slow at them so I’ll tank a workout with those in them. But at least I’ll get more than a 0!

Training for competition is a different type of work than just trying to maintain a fitness level. It means pushing yourself day in and day out not just to finish a WOD, but to keep getting better and stronger. You also have to pay attention to how you’re fueling yourself. I’ve been experimenting with different ways to fuel myself before and after a workout and it makes a HUGE difference. Now I just need to figure out how to fuel and recover if there’s more than one WOD in a day. I’m not only trying to do well in the Open (and by well I mean, staying above 50%), but I’m also training for Project GLOC, an all-women Crossfit Competition my parent’s gym is hosting in April. I’ll be expected to do at least three strenuous WODs that day, and I need to be able to sustain a high level of work and productivity. I’ve begun experimenting with pacing, doing two WODs twice a week in an effort to determine what it will take to perform at my best all day long, and man is it hard. It’s constant learning about myself, my body, and my recovery ability.

Working out twice a day also takes my mind off of the rest of life. Working out is simple. It’s pain and gain, if you want to take a line from that cheesy Wahlberg movie. But honestly, it’s predictable and when I’m suffering in a workout I don’t think about anything but the next rep. I like that. I need that.

| book review: silent echo – a siren’s tale |

*I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*

silent echo
Oh boy. This was a rough read. The plot was simultaneously too busy and boring as all hell; the characters were flat, flat, flat; the overwhelming brand name dropping was utterly ridiculous; and the verses/lyrics were cliche and cheesy.

As far as the plot goes, it was all tell and no show. We were told that Portia was in this great, overwhelming amount of danger, blah blah blah, but we didn’t even see any of it until the very end. It also bothered me how many different threads of stories were started, then left totally unattended for a hundred pages or more. Like Max’s dad.. that was brought up in the very beginning, then we get a sentence here or there about it, then all of the sudden its brought back to life at the end. Then Felix and Dean.. another random offshoot that takes center stage and then is totally set aside. All in all, it made for a very frustrating and confusing read.

Characters – Um, I vacillated between hating Portia and simply not caring about her. She was one-dimensional and her transformation from shy, mute girl to sultry siren was forced and completely unbelievable. I mean come on, this girl who has struggled with being mute her entire life suddenly finds not only her voice but a voice with unparalleled power. As wonderful as it should be to find her voice and this crazy ability, it actually distances her from everyone she knows and loves. The only person that she can turn to and trust is her mentor, and she can’t even tell anyone why it is that she has changed and why she can’t control herself. With all of this, I should definitely be on Portia’s side. I mean yeah, I can hate her for what she’s doing, but ultimately I should be sympathizing with her because I know her and I understand her. Problem is.. none of that happened the way this was written. I didn’t care about her struggles, I didn’t even care if she succeeded in the end.

I didn’t really care for Max because I didn’t feel any authenticity in his struggle to reconcile his love for Portia with her crappy treatment of him. He just whined. Felix was probably my favorite character in the book, but that’s probably because he was the only character that seemed genuine.

Holy name dropping. It was just.. too much. Too iThis and iThat, and every other clothing brand and pop reference. Seemed kitschy.

On to the verses. I’ll start by saying I usually don’t like books with sections of verse in them in the first place, unless they’re actual books of poetry. But these verses were particularly bad. Mother of cheese. Max is supposed to be this suave, chill guy singing this romantic verses and instead he’s got some really cheesy lines. Portia’s rap in the mirror is also a little ridiculous, seeming maybe like it focuses more on rhyming relevant words than seeming like something anyone would ever sing. I just groaned whenever I came to a section of verse.

Oh, and choosing that song to sing to the gods? Really?

 

This book will be published on 10 September 2013, written by Elisa Freilich.

| book review: vicious, an excerpt |

*I received a ~100 page preview from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion*

Sigh. Another book I have to wait for. Soon, my iCal is going to be filled up with nothing but book release dates!

vicious

I’ve been meaning to read the Archived by Victoria Schwab for a while now, but… just haven’t. Which honestly says something about the first 50 pages of that I read. It wasn’t interesting enough to make me chase it down and read it, and I was kind of expecting the same thing from this little preview. I kind of wanted to be able to cross this upcoming book off of my want-to-read list. Buuuut, I definitely can’t after these few hundred pages.

We open on Victor and Sydney in a cemetery, with subtle hints that neither one are quite normal. Then the flashbacks start. It turns out that while Victor was attending college 10 years ago, his friend Eli came up with a hypothesis about how Extra Ordinary people are created. Apparently all it takes is for a near-death experience to happen to the right kind of person, and voila… you’ve got yourself a person with Extra Ordinary powers. Victor and Eli decide to test out their hypothesis on themselves with some artful suicide and lifesaving measures combinations. Aaand that’s about all the info we have.

Ah, frustrating. I know, I know, it’s meant to tease. It’s meant to do everything it’s currently doing to me, but jeepers.

First, let me say that Ms Schwab definitely put in some overtime as it pertains to her medical and technical writing. I don’t know if it’s right or plausible at all (after all, I’m no medical student), but the logic is solid and it’s written in a way that makes it easy to understand. It’s very well thought out, and I really appreciated that. The depth of her writing here adds to the authenticity of the story and elevates it beyond normal sci-fi/x-men wanna-be drivel. I went on the journey of discovery along with Eli and Victor, and thereby now feel partially responsible for what they do with the knowledge and their newfound powers. I feel plain involved.

I felt for Victor, both ten years ago and in the present, and I truly understand him. He could have easily dissolved into a typical, whiny, look-at-me-I’m-misunderstood sort of chap, but Ms Schwab gave him some serious color and depth. I don’t yet know his motivations, but I have a feeling that when I finally learn them, I’ll completely empathize.

Flashbacks (especially consistent back and forth flashbacks) usually bug the piss out of me. But in this case, I didn’t totally mind the structure. I appreciated that Ms Schwab labeled all of her flashbacks because I hate having to figure out which is the past and which is the present, and I think her story breaks were artful and well-timed.

I don’t like Sydney yet, and Mitch is an empty, supporting character. (I concede that these characters could very well metamorphosis within the rest of the book.) I’m not happy with being 100 pages in and still knowing very little; the story moves relatively slow because it shifts back in forth between the then and now. But overall, I’m very intrigued to see what comes next. I’ll undoubtedly preorder this title.
Hurry up 24 September!

| book review: throne of glass |

Alrighty. I’m bound to misspell Celaena’s name somewhere in my review, so in advance, forgive me.

TOG-Cover-679x1024

This story is about a famous assassin–Celaena–that’s brought out of her prison sentence in the salt mines to fight to be the King’s Champion (aka, King’s Assassin). She’s representing the Crown Prince in the competition of thirteen and she’s fighting under a pseudonym because virtually no one knows that the famous Calaena Sardothian is just a young 18 year old woman. If she wins the competition, she’ll serve as King’s Champion for 4 years, then be granted her freedom. During the competition, she basically falls into a love triangle with the Captain of the Guard (Chaol) and the Crown Prince (Dorian).

I know, I know. You’re already pursing your lips as you read “love triangle.” But it’s not bad, really. And it doesn’t dominate the story, and it doesn’t change who Calaena is.. in fact it’s by virtue of who she is that the triangle semi-resolves itself toward the end.

I’ll admit, the first ten or twenty pages were thoroughly uninteresting to me. Maybe if I’d read the e-novellas beforehand I would have been more interested, but alas. After I’d trudged through those, I finished super quick. I even stayed up late last night (I have the dark circles under my eyes to prove it) to finish it. I enjoyed the plot, the characters (including Nehemia.. she was a gem!), and even the pacing of the plot. There was a wonderful twist to the way that Fae and Faery stuff is usually used and I overall just really enjoyed Celaena’s biting sarcasm mixed with some of her softer feelings and reactions.

Great read. Now I’m thoroughly impatient waiting for 27 August. /: