Thursday, December 26, 2013

The *Fabulous* King and More...

For those of you who don't know, Cody's family has been here for a few weeks spending the Holidays with us- and we just enjoyed a delicious holiday feast yesterday that I think I will be working off for a couple months!

Since they arrived, we have gone on several adventures in the surrounding areas, but the biggest one was our trip down to the Bavarian Alps this past weekend.

Stacy, Lonnie, Madi, and I took off on Friday morning and headed towards two of the most famous castles associated with King Ludwig II; Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein. The crowds were way smaller than they were in the Summer, but there were still tour buses parked all over and plenty of people flowing in and out of each castle. Our tour guide for Hohenschwangau was super and I learned some facts from her that I hadn't heard in my previous visits, but our second tour guide was awkward; and since I had visited both castles before, I had a bit of time to day dream and to listen between the lines...

This time while visiting the castles, I started to realize it was maybe a bit odd that Wagner (the famous pianist and composer) spent so much time at Hohenschwangau when Ludwig II was a small boy, only to become the one guest of Neuschwanstein and the motivation for every room in the enormous castle built by King Ludwig once he was older. As the day went on, Madi and I pieced together more and more evidence (the love of swans, the pristine decorating skills, the lack of a wife and kids....) that maybe King Ludwig the II was a bit....well.... fabulous! When we got to Unterammergau that evening, and had finished having fun and stuffing our faces at Gasthaus Stern down the street, Madi and I stayed up reading the only two books we could find in English in our Guest House. Although there were no books about Ludwig II (in English) there was a history of Bavaria and a history of Oberammergau. We didn't find too much interesting information on Ludwig, and instead focused our attention on the Passion Play of Oberammergau that takes place every ten years.

 Apparently, back during the plague, Oberammergau locked up the city and had sentries posted in an attempt to keep "the pest" from striking their city in the form of strangers coming and going. Unfortunately, a local man who had been traveling, managed to come into the village from a mountain passageway and then proceeded to die within two days. A huge number of villagers passed away from the plague within two weeks (I want to say the number was between 60 and 80) and so the people got together and made a promise to God that they would make sacrifices of time and money to honor and thank him for his graciousness for the rest of time, if only their city would be spared from more death. Interestingly enough, there were no more victims of the bubonic plague in their city, so every ten years, the town still gets together and puts on the Passion Play in the Passion Theatre (which has been rebuilt over time and now holds about 5,000 spectators). Unfortunately, the next play takes place in 2020, so we won't be able to watch it, but it was still fun to learn about!

Cody met up with us in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Saturday morning and we spent the day walking through fields and hiking up a mountain in an attempt to go see the Partnach Gorge. We tired out before we got to the top, but not before we had a lovely lunch, took a terrifying cable car ride (damn cable cars!), and rode a horse-drawn carriage back down to the Olympic Stadium. After a quick stroll through the Christmas Market, we went home to rest up for the home-made dinner our Guest House owner had offered. We highly recommend staying with Marianne in Unterammergau if you are ever in the area- she was extremely friendly, helpful, and hospitable!

The next morning we got up and went to another one of Ludwig's castles; the only one he finished and one I had not heard of until this visit to the Alps! This castle, Linderhoff, was absolutely spectacular, inside and out. Dare I say it was even more fabulous than the ones we had toured before? As you can see, each room was covered in gold and velvet; there were even more swans, several peacocks (another of his favorite animals), and some rooms featured several pieces from his small porcelain vase collection... The tour guide at this castle/mansion (another wonderful and informative guide) even mentioned that Ludwig had called off his engagement mere months after it was arranged. The evidence had piled up; our dear, favorite King Ludwig just had to have been a homosexual!
I did manage to google this when I got home, and found some answers ! <p.s. we were right!>
While at the castle, we bought a book all about the reign of Ludwig and came to love him even more; and feel sympathy for how awful he was treated by the men who threw him out of office with manipulated paperwork and lies. (I encourage you to look up his story while bored at work!)

After leaving Linderhoff, we meandered to Ettal where we had another delicious German meal and spent some time at the King's Cloister, where we loaded up on liqueur, wine, gluwein, and beer. We played charades and enjoyed our goodies back at the Guest House and eventually went across the street to The Dorfwirt for dinner- even though we were there a bit late, the owners were stupendous and shared an after-dinner shot of schnapps with us, gave us some schnapps to take home, and even handed out postcards! As any trip should, this one ended with fun, food, and drinks- who knew the Alps could be so entertaining!?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

What's Wrong with "Bulky"

I am so ashamed that I haven't updated this blog in a month!

So much has been happening, and I don't want to make any excuses, but I do want to let you know what I've been up to that has kept me from writing any posts.

 First, I am almost finished with my first two college classes since deciding to go back to school. Originally I went back to school with the goal of eventually becoming a Registered Dietician. So much about this goal beckons to me still, BUT the second time-consumer I have been distracted with has me wondering if I actually should get a second degree…
I have finally put my first degree to use and have been teaching FAST here on post for our wonderful Illesheim soldiers for the past three weeks. There is so much that I love about teaching adults, and through this opportunity I have been fortunate enough to be reminded of all the reasons I wanted to be a teacher in the first place. I hope that I made a positive change in my students' lives, because they certainly have made a positive change in mine!

Along with the job and school aspect of life, I have been Crossfitting in the evenings now because of my new work schedule; which pretty much makes for full days.
ALSO, I had an awesome visit from my first friend ever and we spent all of last weekend visiting Christmas markets (Nuremberg, Bad Windsheim, and Rothenberg), drinking gluwein, and catching up on about a billion years of lost time! The past month has been absolutely wonderful (minus the time that I was missing the hubs who was in the field training) and has also been a thought-provoking time for me.

Tonight's post is short, though I want to get more into this topic later...

When I started Crossfitting, I jumped on the bandwagon of telling my female friends who were interested in trying it, but scared or intimidated,
"Don't worry about getting huge, all the girls I work out with are super fit, but none of them look manly or anything."
I feel like this "encouragement" is almost built into the Crossfit culture. I see it in pretty much every article that I read about women doing Crossfit. I actually see it in almost every article I read about any kind of working out. And it used to make sense to me. I used to like that distinction.

But you know what I want to know?

What's so wrong with "bulky"?????

I have actually started to get kind of annoyed with all these assertions about how women should not be afraid to lift heavy weights because they won't bulk up. And this is why:


In brief summary: Our bodies have evolved to have the skeletal shape, organ systems, muscle fibers, etc. that we have today because this body design is the best structure (or form) for the functions that we do daily. In other words, no matter how you LOOK, you should be using your legs, arms, stomach, butt, heart, etc. for their intended purposes; eventually you will find functional translates into beautiful!

I want every part of my body to be the best at doing what nature intended it to do. Period. I want to be able to jump high, I want to be able to carry anything and everything, I want to be able to run as long and as fast as may be necessary. I want to squat, lift, hang, pull, push to my body's highest ability.

If I gain muscle and get "bulky" through this process, then AMEN! I love looking in the mirror and seeing more muscle than I could see six months ago. I revel in the ability to flex and see my biceps, delts, and traps. I feel strong and confident when my clothes fit tightly around my shoulders….

(If this is "bulky", please sign me up!)

To all you women out there- when you tap into your body's potential and begin to see the limitless possibilities for your strength, fitness, and overall health, you will not care if you are "bulky" vs "toned". All you will care about is that you are healthier and stronger than you were yesterday. And if you are anything like me, you are looking forward to the day that somebody (meant as either an insult or a compliment) says, 

"Damn, that girl is jacked!"

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hmmm... A Short Story on Perception...

Something funny happened today that made me think about how people see me differently than I see myself; and how people from this time in my life see me in a different light than people from earlier times of my life.

You see, I have been fighting off a cold for the past week and a half. When it first popped up, inconveniently in the middle of Halloween weekend, I tried to ignore it, and went ahead with my plans for drinking and staying up late. I took care of myself the best I could during the day, but I knew I wasn't helping my body with my bad sleep schedule and booze. I skipped my Monday Crossfit class while spending all day in pajamas and trying not to talk since my throat was killing me. By Tuesday, I decided that enough time had passed and I felt better enough to head back into the gym; I worked out Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. All week I felt pretty good! A little bit of a sniffle here or there, but its November, so a little bit of a runny nose is to be expected, right?

Wrong. Come Saturday I felt like I had not beaten my cold after all; the little bugger just snuck away for a few days to get some bigger and stronger friends to attack me worse than before! I didn't go to Cody's soccer party on Saturday night, and I spent most of Sunday feeling awful. By the time I went to bed on Sunday, my head felt like it was going to bust open. When I woke up in the middle of the night coughing so hard that I couldn't stop, with a throat that wouldn't stop itching, and a nose that wouldn't stop tingling and clogging, I knew I was in trouble...
Long story short, I have spent this week trying to beat off this cold with fresh squeezed orange juice, tea, sleep, and lots and lots of tissues. Oh, and Nyquil at night so my poor husband can get some rest! I have had to go out for certain responsibilities, but I have skipped the gym, and have let my eating habits slide. Anything my body wants, I give to it, for better or for worse. I haven't had the energy to care.

Moving on. I was upstairs visiting my neighbor today, talking to her about this lingering cold that I just can't beat, and she was telling me about how she has started running again. First of all, I am so excited for her that she has started to exercise again, because I know she has been wanting to, and I'm so glad that she found time to do something she enjoys! I let her know that I haven't been to Crossfit in five days, and because I am subbing tomorrow, still feel eh, and there is only open gym, that I'm going to be off tomorrow, too. She looked at me with real surprise on her face, and half sarcastically/half seriously said,

"I don't like this! It's not right. This just doesn't sound like you!"

I laughed and went on to tell her about my disgusting diet these past few days, as well... like on Monday where all I ate was an overly sweet and box-made mini-cheesecake on top of a Reese's cup, two chocolate chip cookies, and two eggs all day. And then I totally made "tuna mac" (a gross concoction of Kraft Mac&Cheese, a can of tuna, a can of peas, and crumbled crackers) for dinner and ate too much; which led to a feeling kind of like my body was trying to kick my stomach out of me for being so full of grossness.

The point of my story is this: At first, I just laughed about my neighbor being so shocked about me not working out. And her similar reaction to how I have been eating (especially since she just asked for and received advice from me about Paleo/Primal a couple weeks ago). Afterwards, once the conversation had passed and started to sink in, I thought, It is pretty cool that Crossfit and Primal have become such a big part of my life, that my friends here can't picture me without them. 

At one point in my life, probably about a year ago, nobody would have been surprised if I would have said, "Yea, I haven't worked out in 6 days," or, "Ugh, I ate a cheesecake for breakfast and tuna mac for lunch." That would have just been a normal conversation.

It is so crazy how much we can change in such a short amount of time. It is also crazy to realize how certain things we may know nothing about today could become engrained in our lives tomorrow. I am so thankful that Crossfit and overall health have become a part of my life, and apparently have become a part of me. So much so that I can take a week off, and feel confident that I will go right back to where I was before; there is no part of me that wants to continue this break forever.

The coolest part of this story is that I think it is important to take a step back and see ourselves as others see us, not the "haters" and strangers, but those people who actually know us. I think other people see us way better than we see ourselves, what with all of our self-perception and self-confidence issues running amuck. If you have a chance to see yourself as others see you, take it, so you can learn to appreciate who you have grown into, not just who you used to be.

For a really great article on self-confidence and awareness, check out my friend's recent blog post at CrossfitterMama!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

*Our First (and last?) Oktoberfest*

If I had to choose just one word to describe Munich's Oktoberfest, the largest beer fest in the world, I would probably go with "shit-show."

But since a blog post isn't super successful with only one word (or sentence, for that matter) I suppose I should go into a little bit more detail!

My amazing brother and his awesome girlfriend flew all the way to Munich from Chicago (they live in Cincinnati, so there was a long drive involved in their travel, as well) and arrived on October 3rd; just in time for the last weekend of Oktoberfest. The last weekend of Oktoberfest is also the only weekend of Oktoberfest that actually takes place in October (iiiinteresting). It is also known for being the Italian weekend of the fest because apparently all the Italians like to come up to Germany and party together on the same weekend, which we can attest to since we shared a fest table with three Italians on Saturday. But now I'm getting ahead of myself!
Anyways, we had rented an apartment MONTHS ahead, because Oktoberfest is a pretty big deal. People know it. Its very important. (Anchorman anybody?)  Said apartment was kind of tiny, but was big enough for all four of us, was super clean and cute, was a 15-20 minute walk from one of the fest entrances, was on a quiet residential street, and was rented out by a friendly and helpful Croatian man named Robert. All in all, I think we kind of hit the jackpot. Or he hit the jackpot since he got paid 355 euros for us to spend three nights in his mom's tiny apartment.... but I like to think that we did pretty well considering the cost of one cot, in a hostel, with a shared bathroom, during any weekend of Oktoberfest, is close to 100 euro a night.

Cody and I joined Chris and Angela (the above-mentioned brother and gf) on Friday, and we headed out into the streets of Munich to do some exploring. I was excited to see a restaurant that specialized in haxen (pork knuckle) when we got to downtown, and then much less excited to see that a whole haxen cost about 20 euro. Considering we can get haxen for about 5 euro from the cute roach-coach guy who sits outside our grocery store on Fridays, I was a bit disappointed. I began to mentally prepare myself for an expensive weekend. Have I mentioned that I am a total country-bumpkin now, and get overwhelmed by cities and also disgusted by how pricey everything is in said cities? Especially during such a touristy time as Oktoberfest! Anyways, we had a lovely meal (I skipped the haxen... come on, 20 euros??) and walked over to Haufbrauhaus to try and get a beer. It was absolutely packed, but I will say it was cool just to walk around the place. We continued trekking through the city and eventually got ourselves to the fest to scope it out for the next morning, when we were planning to attempt the task of getting into a tent without a reservation.

Upon entering the fest, I was absolutely amazed! These were no regular carnival rides; there were two full-sized drop towers, tilty whirly puke-makers, even the highest set of swings I've ever seen! Add in the gigantic fest "tents", the drunken people walking (or attempting to walk) the streets, the food and cinnamon nut stands, and random other attractions and sights at every turn, and we all agreed that we probably walked around like deer in headlights for our first hour at the fest. We started our day with a glass of wine on a cute little patio where we could acclimate and people-watch, but eventually found our way to the front deck of one of the large beer tents where we waited out an open bench and ended up spending about 5 hours.

I had an upset stomach the entire day, and knowing the liter beers that awaited the next day, decided not to drink and to just enjoy the scenery. We made friends with the Austrians at the table behind us (some of us better friends than others, cough Cody cough) and then all the people who flowed in and out from our table. Many glasses of German beer were consumed by all (except me) and lots of random conversations were had. I even saw an Australian chick in a dirndl hit a German guy upside the head for sticking his head in between her breasts while in line for the bathroom! But, eventually, the night had to come to an end, and after a couple of carnival rides, I convinced the boys we had to go home and get some sleep so we could wake up early and score a spot inside a famous tent the next day.
Cody and his new bestie ;)
The four of us all together
Saturday morning we got up bright and early (some of us easier than others) and grabbed some sandwiches and coffee while waiting for the bus. I knew to expect crowds waiting to get inside the tents and we were really pushing our luck, time-wise! I had a specific tent I wanted to try for, but since we were running a little bit late, we just jumped into the first crowd of people we saw outside the Lowenbrau tent. None of us knew what would happen, but I thought we would have to fight our way up to the doors, and I was almost right! When they opened the doors, the whole crowd lurched forward, but they only let in one or two people at the time and would close the doors if everybody started pushing. At one point, we got a few rows away from the door, when the guard outside yelled, "We are closed!" and they shut the doors and went inside.
What?! Did we really just not make it in?? 
Nobody in the crowd moved, so there was no way to get in the tent, and no way to get out of the mob of people, or to go try another tent. All we could do was wait, shoved up against everybody around us, and hope that nobody farted. Oh, and that they would re-open the doors soon. Luckily, they did open back up (AND nobody crop-dusted the whole crowd, lucky us!), and all four of us (Chris lagging behind and scaring the crap out of us!) finally shoved our way in and secured a bench. We thought the waitress said that we could have the table until 4:30, and since it was now just about 9:30, we figured seven hours of drinking would be plenty!
Entering the fest at 8:30am (yes those are cowboy boots)

In the crowd outside the tent

A fest tent is a remarkable place. There are thousands of people shoved inside, all drinking merrily, and once the band starts going, everybody is singing and dancing together. We sat at a table with three Italian men; one who we affectionately nick-named Jafar and who's laugh sounded exactly like the hyenas in The Lion King. Chris pointed out that nobody in the fest tent got into a fight, which made Cody and I realize that we have never seen a fight at any fest, or in Germany at all, for that matter. If you shoved a thousand people into close quarters and fed them liters of beer at a time in America, I can promise you that a brawl would eventually break out; why this isn't so in Germany, I don't know, but I am thankful for it! The hours went on and we drank and drank. I was only able to finish one fest beer and one Radler, as I was still feeling under the weather, and then around 14:00 I started to feel feverish and terrible and tired and sore and decided to try and take a nap at the table so I wouldn't ruin anybody else's time. Around then, the band started playing American music, and I was drawn like a moth to a flame, so I stood up to dance on the benches and sing along with everybody. What music do they play at Oktoberfest that makes everybody go completely crazy? "Sweet Caroline," "Hey Baby (I wanna know if you would be my girl," and "Take Me Home, Country Roads." For some reason, these three songs ARE really good drinking songs. And I have proof (watch video below)! Luckily for me, we had misunderstood the waitress and were getting kicked out of our section at 14:30, NOT 4:30, so I got to finally go back to the apartment (after a bit of a misunderstanding with a taxi driver) to crash, where I think I spent a few hours fighting through a fever. Thankfully, my sweet hubby came back with me, to make sure I was okay.
Me during my attempted nap, and my hubs making fun of me, haha

I know what you are thinking. I just drank too much and needed to man up. I assure you, I have been drinking enough years to know what drunk-sick feels like, and what sick-sick feels like, and unfortunately, I was actually sick. Did the drinking at 9 in the morning help the situation? Most likely not (although German beer does have some magical qualities). Anyways, I was thankful to get some sleep and take some Tylenol and I woke up feeling much more normal. Everybody else had a blast and came home talking mumbo jumbo about burgers and pummel horses, but after a bit of an afternoon nap, and then convincing Angela it was actually the same evening and not the next morning (haha) we were able to head back out and go to dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant on our street.

Cody and I headed back home the next morning after grabbing a delicious breakfast and dropping Chris and Angela off at the trainstation to continue their adventure in Garmisch.

All in all, Oktoberfest is an incredible experience that I would never want to miss while living in Germany. BUT, after spending more time (and a lot less money!) at local, smaller, beer fests, Oktoberfest will probably stay a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Cody and I!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Why the hate?

Why do I feel the need to stand up for Crossfit whenever I hear something negative about it? 

Mainly, I hate to see something so positive turned upside down. Especially by people with zero hands-on experience. I would feel very silly posting an article about how raising children a certain way is wrong, because I don't have kids, and I've never tried to raise a child, so how could I possibly know if what I read in some book or article is true? The same goes for body-building or soccer. I've never done it, so I really don't know the pros and cons. Granted, I don't have to try everything to know that its not for me; I don't do drugs or rob banks, although most people would agree those two choices would be bad for my health/life. The jury is apparently out when it comes to Crossfit, but people as a whole do regard exercise as a positive endeavor; it shouldn't matter to anybody, but me, the kind of working out that I choose to partake in. On the other hand, if people feel that Crossfit is bad for their health, or that the negatives outweigh the positives, or that its not an activity for them, then they luckily can choose not to participate.

But why the hate?

The most common reason I hear for disliking Crossfit is that it is annoying to always see posts and articles "glorifying" it. I do understand that pictures, articles, statuses, etc. could get annoying after awhile. Just as it can be annoying to see endless posts and pictures about peoples' children (a friend made this reference and I think its a great comparison). The difference is this: when I get annoyed by over-zealous moms, I don't post anything tearing down those children, or that mom's pride in her children. I just ignore it. Even better, I accept that I may not understand, but I am glad that the person is happy. No skin off my back if they want to post pictures of their kid eating, sleeping, playing, pooping, etc. So I do wonder why Crossfit is so offensive that it can't just be ignored when it is disliked?

I reference this article at this moment to say some of the things I'd really like to, but won't:

Yes, I know it can be annoying to see everybody write about their accomplishments, which is why I personally try to keep those kinds of things between me and my closest friends, my family members, and my Crossfit community. Those are the people who provide the support and encouragement that I care about. Although, I do encourage people not to take it personally if I happen to share one of my positive Crossfit experiences in a forum where you are exposed; I do not mean to offend anybody with my happiness. In defense of my pride at times, I have to say its pretty easy to feel proud of where you work out when you get to watch your coach on ESPN competing, and then see him workout in person, and then get advice from him daily.   Just sayin' .... :)

Another reason I feel the need to chime in when I see negative opinions on Crossfit is that it does vary from box to box and coach to coach. I can't tell you if the box in my hometown, or your hometown, or the one down the street is worth criticizing. But I can tell you that no article that lumps every box, every experience, and every coach together is valid. Most articles focus on tearing down Crossfit by using several falacies to get their point across; namely appealing to emotion, stacking the deck, and generalizing(Examples of Fallacies). Luckily, Crossfit Ansbach does not encourage the negatives that are often highlighted in articles against Crossfit. I have written about this in the past, and I could only add positives to this if I were to re-write it. When I stand up for Crossfit, I am really standing up for Crossfit Ansbach, the amazing people I work out with, and our owner (our coach), who is an outstanding person and who is not only highly experienced in and knowledgeable about what he does, but who is also skilled in teaching what he knows to others.

When it comes down to it, I think the reason some of us "Crossfitters" come off as annoying is because we have found something that betters our life, and we want to share our experience with everybody so maybe we can better somebody else's life, too!

So why do I get involved in trying to stand up for Crossfit? Maybe from now on, I won't. The bottom line is, I get positive results socially, intellectually, and physically from going to Crossfit Ansbach. My friends and family support me and my Crossfit community understands me. If somebody outside of that group of people wants to be negative without knowing what they are missing, they are free to feel that way.

Bottom line: I just want to encourage anybody who is curious about Crossfit to give it a try and not to let the naysayers scare you away!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday, Monday...

I often give myself permission to completely enjoy a day doing, or not doing, whatever I please (I am spoiled in this way); but I just as often don't fully take myself up on the offer.

However; today, I have spoiled myself by doing exactly what I think of as soon as I think of it; including household chores, errands, and a random afternoon bath. On days where I feel like being lazy or alone (or both), I usually put off all of my obligations, which only adds to my anxiousness and keeps me from having a completely stress-free day. It's as if I spend the entire day thinking of everything I should be doing but then fight these responsibilities by telling myself, "NO! Today you must relax!" And so I sit in one spot and do nothing, but never actually relax because my mind is on everything I should be completing. Today has been so pleasantly different :)

As soon as I was half-awake this morning I thought to myself, "I am not going to Crossfit today." Yes, I still love my Crossfit classes, coach, and peers, but this morning the bed felt so cozy and inviting that I didn't want to start thinking about when I had to get up in order to be somewhere other than my nice, warm, bed. I also noticed that my back wasn't aching, and I was so relieved to wake up for the second day in a row without pain, that I gave my body permission to just have the day off. More importantly, I decided not to feel guilty about taking a Monday off, either. When I did roll out of bed, I took a nice shower and took the time to fully un-pack and put away all my laundry. I tidied the kitchen, started a load of laundry, and then Cammy and I went on an hour walk to enjoy the fact that it is sunny and pleasant outside today. I mozyed to Kauflands where I picked up a bottle of federweiser for Cody and I to enjoy tonight along with our dinner, and after a small lunch, took some time to practice my German with Rosetta Stone. As soon as my back started hurting, I laid down to read, then got up to take a warm bath, and here I am now; sitting up in bed, updating my blog.  A relaxing yet slightly productive Monday, indeed!

You may be wondering why my back is hurting, and I admit that I haven't written about it because I don't want any negative impressions of Crossfit coming from anything that I write on my blog. I blame nothing and nobody but myself for my recent issue with my back, but I did manage to tweak a muscle/nerve/who-knows-what in my lower-back about a month ago during a workout. I have tried giving myself time off, only to become stiffer and more sore. I have had days with very little pain and days where my back nags at me from morning until night. Most of the time, once I finish stretching and warming up in class, I feel limber and experience little to no pain during my workout, leading me to feel strong and mostly pain-free throughout the day. Unfortunately, just as I thought I was maybe healing, I had a very rough day in class on Friday. Thankfully, with help from Rob and some extra time doing exercises, stretches, and experimenting, I think we may have me on the mend. Taking the weekend off for our FRG girl's trip to Poland was most likely the best thing for me to do as a follow up. 

And so we come around to what I originally wanted to update the blog on: my weekend Polish Pottery Trip! 

This Saturday morning at 6:00 am, five ladies and myself packed ourselves and some small pieces of luggage into an SUV and drove ourselves the five hours to Poland to buy some pottery. If you have never heard of Polish Pottery... well, neither had I until I came to Germany and was introduced to it by other military wives. I wasn't even particularly impressed with it until this weekend, to be honest. Polish Pottery is hand-painted ceramic pieces for every dining or cooking need under the sun; you can buy coffee mugs, tea pots, saucers, plates, bowls, casserole dishes, wine glasses, serving bowls, muffin "tins," cookie jars, and the list goes on and on and on. You can decorate with it, but it is also fully functional (depending on the quality you buy) and as we found out, you can even find polish pottery dildos. Yep. I really couldn't make that kind of thing up.

When we arrived in Poland, I realized that I know absolutely nothing about the place.  I felt bad that I couldn't even pull up one random fact about the area from my brain full of random knowledge. It was definitely different than Germany, and looked kind of sad and run-down in places. But there is no shortage of Polish Pottery! 
We hit about 6-8 stores once we got to town, with a delicious and surprisingly cheap meal in between (Poland does not use the euro, and you get a very favorable exchange rate-- think 4:1). We checked into our hotel, The Blue Beetroot, and went to one last store, and came back to have a couple glasses of federweisser (wine before it is wine- yum!) before our scheduled beauty appointments. I was the lucky one to go first and loved my 45 minute massage, which I feel that I have so desperately been needing. We all came and went from our reserved table in the dining room and I enjoyed a raspberry beer, a greek salad with bread, and spinach perogies (my first perogies ever!) for only nine euros! Once everybody had been pampered and stuffed with delicious food, we wandered upstairs for our pjs and some sangria. As I sat chatting with the group, I was so relieved that none of my fears about spending 24 hours with five females had come true- plus, you know when your nighttime conversation is about twerking and zombies that you have found a good crowd :)

We all woke up and met downstairs for breakfast consisting of, orange juice, breads, homemade jam, croissants (mmm my fave!), fruits, yogurt, cereals, scrambled eggs, sausage, ham, sliced meats and cheeses, and full carafes of coffee and hot chocolate. Incredible. Yet again, all of this was only six euros! Can you say spoiled?  
I had already decided that I was done shopping and would just look around at the stores we stopped at on the way out of town, but the first store we went to on Sunday morning had my favorite patterns of all! Everybody has their favorite Polish Pottery store, and now I know why; these pieces were absolutely beautiful to me! For the first time, I felt the need to buy entire sets all in one or two patterns- I was in love. So, even though I had already spent what I wanted to spend, I got myself a beautiful colander and a little sugar and creamer set in my two favorite patterns. 

The drive home was full of conversation ranging from serious to silly and we even stopped to have a picnic at lunch time. With all the fun we had, I think we were all ready to get home, see our husbands (or boyfriends), relax, eat dinner, and unpack our treasures! We got to Bad Windsheim around 5:00 pm yesterday and all gave hugs goodbye, having survived almost 36 hours with zero accidents, spats, or conflict of any kind (I think that's pretty impressive for any 6 people spending all their time together, not just 6 females). Cody had picked us up the largest size pizza that Best Pizza carries and Kevin came over to enjoy it with us.  The boys actually liked everything that I had bought, and Cody was extra excited about the cookie jar I brought home, as I thought he would be.

As if the weekend couldn't get any better, after we got ready for bed, Cody called his grandma and dad, who informed us that the Bengals were playing Green Bay. We then realized it was only 8:00 at night and not 10:00 (as we had both thought thanks to Cody, haha), and we got up and watched the game. I made a double batch of cookies for the cookie jar and we got to see the Bengals beat Green Bay 34-30! We both went to sleep very happy, indeed :)

P.s. If you are wondering why there are no pictures- between all of us, we never took one group photo the entire weekend! I think we were all too busy enjoying ourselves to worry about it :) Plus, I'm already excited to go back, anyway!

I hope all of you had a great weekend and are having a wonderful Monday, as well!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mom's Visit to Germany

This past week something very exciting happened.... my mom came to Europe for the first time and visited Cody and I!
We had a ton of plans and we did almost all of them. Unfortunately, after a beautiful, sunny, and warm week, mom experienced an entire week of cold, cloudy, rainy days. It didn't keep us from anything we wanted to see and do, and we all made the best of everything-- all along making time for lots of pastries, cappuccino, and gelato ;)

It was awesome to show mom my home, take her to Crossfit classes, and experience new restaurants and places with her.  She fully understands why I love it here SO much now, and even joked around about moving here herself ;) I wish! Here is everything we squeezed into her seven-day trip....

Picked mom up from the airport in Frankfurt, stopped at a market hall and picked up a torte, quiche, and chocolate croissant for brunch, drove back to Bad Windsheim where mom relaxed at home while I went to Crossfit, Cody and mom picked up new chairs to surprise me while I was gone and Cody made us bison burgers when I got home (yum!), then gelato in town at Cafe Rialto and home so mom could finally SLEEP!
Early morning Crossfit (mom got to meet some of my x-fit family and watch a fun workout), cleaned up at home and had a big homemade breakfast, went to Kauflands to explore and stopped on postto take Cody lunch, then home to change and off to the Frankentherme where we swam and relaxed for a few hours, then went home and cleaned up for dinner at Franco's (mom's first authentic Italian dinner), and home for MORE SLEEP!
Left for Newschwanstein and Hohenschwangau in the morning, once we arrived we saw Kurt from Glee! and then walked around Schwangau and toured the castle, we hopped back in the car towards Garmish-Partenkirchen and stopped at a "cheese house" for yummy lunch in the car, then arrived at guest-house and explored town, napped, went downstairs for dinner and live music and dancing at Gasthaus Fraundorfer (mom's first authentic German dinner and drinks), finally time to SLEEP

Had a traditional breakfast in the gasthaus with a retired military couple (so nice and informative!), foggy day but did Zugspitze trip anyway; train up to cable car, cable car up to summit, blizzard at summit, hot chocolate with Bailey's (mmm), small cable car down to attempt to take train, "train goes ka-put," small cable car up to big cable car, fast cable car down to train, train back to station, get on the road home, Cody makes pork tenderloin for dinner, I needed sleep after all those fricken cable cars! (Not a huge fan of hanging in a box on a cable with no parachute blowing around in a blizzard... nein danke)
We collectively decided not to go to Weinfest in Bad Durkheim and to explore Bad Windsheim instead, Cody and I went to Crossfit in the morning, then we all did a little bit of shopping, stopped back home, grabbed coffee and a cinnamon roll at Cafe Kiwi, listened to the beautiful organ music in the town church, then went and strolled around the Freiland Museum (loved it!), then back to house for rest, and drove out to Best Pizza in Hohenau (first for all of us!) where mom and I shared the same size pizza that Cody ate all alone, then back home to sleep
Finally went for breakfast at Cafe Bohne (surprisingly disappointing, boo), then mom and I went to the PX and Commisary at Urlas (ugh), but finished in time to park downtown in Ansbach and wandered around, grabbed a panini and some gelato for the drive home, once home we got ready for dinner at Colmberg Castle with Abby and Josh, and went to Rothenburg afterwards for our favorite Night Watchman's Tour
I drug mom back to Crossfit to see some weight-lifting, then we came home and cleaned up, hopped on a train to Ipsheim, then we missed the train back, so we took a train to Neustadt, where we got back on a train to Bad Windsheim (mom definitely got to ride European trains-one of her goals of visiting!), we took a bit to shop around Bad Windsheim, then went home, cooked for Lunch In Hangar, had dinner made by mom (love!), finally relaxed and tried to re-create the bier-likor drink from Garmisch, and went to bed
Mom and I had a final traditional German breakfast at home (meats and cheeses on croissants) then drove to Frankfurt where mom took off towards the States :(

Next time, she will have to make a longer trip!!!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Crossfit Booty

This week I asked for requests for a blog topic, and I got one from a friend:


Obviously, he was trying to be funny, but I can totally work with this!

So, the definition of twerkin', according to The Oxford Dictionary Online, is "to dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance. (If you need an example, I keep hearing that Miley Cyrus was twerkin', or attempting to twerk, all over the place this week.)

What is so important about twerkin'??? Well, nothing, actually. Its kind of gross and most people who attempt it should stop. But, it lead my wandering mind to another related topic....


Oh yes. The elusive and beautiful Crossfit booty. All the ladies want one and all the men want to look at one. It is truly the perfect booty.

Here are some examples because I know you want them, its okay, don't be embarassed:

Now is the perfect time to revisit my initial statement from June about wanting a Crossfit booty because I have some exciting news!

I made a shocking discovery when I saw myself from the side in an office that had floor to ceiling windows. It was a butt! My back no longer met the top of my legs with a non-commital half-bump.
At that moment, in that window, wearing those workout spandex (and no they weren't lululemon, so there was no magical illusion taking place), I had my very own, true blue, Crossfit Booty!!!

Is it the best Crossfit booty I've ever seen? Definitely not! But does it exist? I think it really might!
I also had un-solicited confirmation from a trusted outside source, who is not my husband and is therefore not obligated to tell me that my butt looks good, which means that I am not imagining this new bottom! Whooo hoooo!

I decided I would tell you how it is possible that I could be growing a bubbly bum after only four months of Crossfit, just in case you don't believe me or are curious about obtaining one of your own.

The four most important muscles in creating a Crossfit booty are the gluteus maximus and the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus, all of which make up hamstringsScientifically, glutes move your hips forward and hamstrings bend your knee. Superficially, strong glutes and hamstrings give you perky buns-of-steel.

There are many reasons so many Crossfitters (men and women alike) have such drool-worthy behinds, but one of the biggest contributers is the squat. We do a ton of types of squats: Back Squats, Front Squats, Air Squats, Jumping Squats, Overhead Squats.... the list goes on and agonizingly on. Other exercises that activate glutes are sprints, jumping, deadlifts and lunges.

I can safely say that I have done HUNDREDS of those exercises in the last four months, along with all the other workouts that I have completed which didn't focus on my glutes and hamstrings but used them secondarily. Actually, it is hard to think of movements we use that don't require these muscle groups. This makes total sense because Crossfit specializes in functional movements, which means you will never isolate a muscle to work it out. 
I am constantly being reminded to "tighten up your ass and abs" and "use your hips," no matter whether the exercise is lifting a bar overhead or squatting it down. Rob tells us all the time that we, as a society, have forgotten how to use our butts. I totally agree! It is crazy how hard it is to learn to do movements that should be so natural! So much power and fitness is going wasted! Plus, so many butts are going neglected when they could add so much bootyliciousness to the world!

I promise that I use my butt every time that I go to Crossfit, and as much as I have to focus on it, I am never thinking about what I need to do to make it look better (besides when my coach teases me for my original crossfit booty post or I notice a great one in class-- thats right boys, girls check out butts, too!) but four amazing months later, it just does. Like magic :)

P.S. Even when I do have a better Crossfit booty, you still won't catch me twerkin'. Ew.

Side note: Do you remember those annoying targeted workouts that are all over the internet? Take a second and browse a few of them meant for giving you a better butt....
They probably contain some sort of squat and some sort of hip extension. After the third time of repeating the whole process you will probably get bored and do something else. If you stick to it, besides your body getting used to doing the same workout over and over again, there is absolutely no way you will do as many reps as you would if you were working out at a Crossfit box. I would doubt that you will be using as much intensity, either. Also, in order to work other muscle groups, you may have to find other isolated muscle workouts and add them onto this butt workout. You don't want a beautiful beach-ready butt and flabby arms, right?? STOP TORTURING YOURSELF!!!! If you want real results, real strength, and real health/fitness, put in REAL work!!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Whoopsie... I'm not Paleo, I'm Primal!

I want to take a minute to correct the mistake in terminology that I have been making. Well, I've actually already tried to change my wording in day-to-day life, but I guess what I want to do is explain the mistake I was making, because it seems like I am far from the only one making it.

The way I eat is NOT Paleo. It is actually PRIMAL.

"What's the difference?" you may ask.

In practice, not much. At least that is the way it seems from the number of Paleo recipes that are actually Primal by inclusion of certain ingredients. Also, there are many people who say that they have their own adapted version of Paleo (much like I did), when they may actually be Primal. (They may just be doing their own thing completely, but I find that the exceptions most people make to their Paleo-ish diet are more in line with the Primal diet, in general)

Basically, when you research Paleo, you are going to come across people interchanging the two like crazy! And that is totally fine, because in reality, the two diets are based on the same premise and are meant to function in very similar ways.

But, I suppose in theory, there is more of a divide than most people know...

I just finished reading The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson, which is what led me to understand that what I was actually leaning towards the whole time was a primal lifestyle. ((Book review coming soon!!))

In fairness, I haven't read books on Paleo all the way through, so I don't feel completely comfortable breaking it down into a science, but I did make some observations from what I believed Paleo to be in my research, and what I learned while reading The Primal Blueprint.

I believe that the differences are as simple as the fact that Primal allows some dairy into the diet, and even very small amounts of quinoa or wild rice for hard-core athletes. Also, Sisson is more laid-back (and in my opinion, realistic) with his rules. The way he explains the Primal lifestyle connects with me more naturally than the way the Whole 30 represents its suggested lifestyle.  I don't think many people would, or more importantly would be happy to, live their life as strictly as diets like the Whole 30 preach. I understand the premise of perfection in diet, and I applaud whole-heartedly my friends (and strangers) who can successfully stay with the plan. For me personally, a little more flexibility is necessary so I don't completely crack!
Yet again, it may not be fair to compare the Whole 30 to Primal as an example of Paleo, as it does seem to have some very separate rules from the original Paleo Diet as voiced by Loren Cordain... Basically, it all gets super confusing- and a little hair-spliting if you ask me!

As you can see, I am no expert in this field, although I do plan to read several more books so I can start to figure this out myself! For a more educated explanation, here is how Sisson writes about the difference on his website/blog "Mark's Daily Apple":

A fundamental difference? The role of saturated fats. Cordain and many within the paleo community continue to harbor a fear of saturated fats as the bogey that raises cholesterol and instigates heart disease instead of a critical source of nutrients for neurological functioning and other essential physiological processes. Partaking of only lean meats, eschewing butter and coconut oil (two Primal Blueprint favorites based on health benefits supported by extensive research), restricting egg consumption – this is not your Granddaddy Grok’s diet.
As many critics of the Paleo Diet have pointed out, early humans left virtually nothing of the animal carcasses they were so fortunate to bag. And the fact is they favored not the lean muscle meat but the richer organ meats, bone marrow and even fat deposits themselves. Grok, after all, was just trying to get enough calories and nutrients to stay alive from one day to the next. The denser in energy, the more valued the food. (And, can we add here, more tasty?)
And then there’s the discrepancies surrounding other fats. Sure, there’s a general agreement about the importance of omega 3:6 balance, but the particulars diverge. In the Primal Blueprint, unlike Cordain’s version of the Paleo Diet, omega 3 sources like canola oil are suspect. The fact is, the deodorization process that canola oil is nearly always subjected to removes the omega 3 content. But when you’ve written off saturated fat sources (like good old coconut oil), you’re pretty much stuck wading in the murky waters of processed polyunsaturated products. What’s wrong with this picture?
Also at issue is the role of diet sodas (allowed by Cordain) and other artificial sweeteners. The opinion of many in the paleo community is that as long as it’s not sugar, it’s acceptable. Working around the problem like this seems to be nothing more than a manipulation. Although the Primal Blueprint doesn’t demonize the occasional use of artificial sweeteners, it makes the stipulation that its use should be limited to foods or beverages that will inherently add something positive to the diet. In other words, if you aren’t getting anything positive from the meal or drink, you shouldn’t be taking the risk of the artificial sweetener. A better angle? Expand your cooking repertoire. Train your taste buds in the right direction, and don’t let the artificial stuff get in the way of that progress.
Finally and most importantly, the Primal Blueprint works as a broad, holistic approach to living and not simply a list for eating. While the majority of the underlying assumptions and suggestions of the Paleo Diet are generally sound, the diet encompasses only a fraction of what it takes to live a healthy life in the modern world.
The Primal Blueprint recommends wise supplementation appropriate to counter the stressors and toxins unique to our life today. (Grok didn’t have it all bad.) In its fitness and stress management approach, the Blueprint further highlights and capitalizes on our natural physiological functioning. The Blueprint emphasizes the overlap of good diet with essential fitness and relaxation principles to maximize muscle mass and organ reserve and to defend against the inflammation, sarcopenia and other preventable factors behind the aging process.
And isn’t it a comfort to know that power over your health is seated in more than diet? The big picture of a healthy, fit and happy lifestyle involves more than isolating a specific issue. The Primal Blueprint was designed for the purpose of offering a guide for all elements of healthy living. Let’s face it, some days life makes it particularly difficult to have the perfect diet. We like to think of the Primal Blueprint design as a comprehensive cover, so to speak. The knowledge and efforts you exert in each area (diet, fitness, supplementation, stress management, sleep, etc.) can make a difference when the realities of day to day life keep you from doing a 100% in a given area.
Read more:

Exhausting, isn't it?!?! In conclusion, I just wanted to let you all know that I am sorry for prancing around ignorantly calling myself Paleo... I now know the truth; I'm a Primal girl at heart <3

Friday, August 16, 2013

Four Days in Dublin

I just got over this awful bug that hit me on Wednesday and kept me in bed for almost 24 hours straight! I can't remember the last time I had a fever and chills, nonetheless the last time I threw up (worst. grossness. ever.), so I suppose I was overdue to get knocked down by something. It probably didn't help that Cody and I had such a busy 4 days of travel and then came right back in for some busy days at home! Whether our trip had something to do with my weakened immune system or not, it was totally worth it- we had a great time in Dubin :)

Our flight was super early on Friday, so we woke up at 1:30 am and drove the 3 hours to Frankfurt Hahn. We were very happy with RyanAir and both of our bags were under the 10kg weight limit so our 2 hour flight was smooth. Once we landed, we took a bus into town and started to explore the area looking for breakfast. We found the perfect spot on Grafton Street, which is the busy, shopping, pedestrian lane between Temple Bar and St. Stephen's Green. Then we dropped our bags of at our wonderful Bed&Breakfast, The Cliff Townhouse, and went for a stroll through the park. We ended up at the mall and got a little carried away with spending (tkmaxx is just as dangerous as tjmaxx!) but eventually grabbed our first Guinness in Ireland (how exciting!) and then heading back to the room. We got dressed up and went out to dinner at a wonderful tapas restaurant and then we got to watch Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre! I used to watch Riverdance on VHS at my grandparents' house, so I couldn't resist buying tickets to see it in person- it was the perfect way to spend our first night. We picked up some gelato, and made our way back to the room for some rest!

On Saturday, we planned to hit all of our sight-seeing within Dublin. Luckily, the breakfast at our B&B was the most delicious breakfast I have ever had in my entire life and it kept me full for the entire day (no offense to my mom and all the wonderful cooks who have made me breakfast in the past); we started with fresh fruit and organic yogurt, then a pastry platter with fresh homemade jams, and then a full Irish breakfast with an over-easy egg, black pudding, brown bread, sauteed mushrooms, sausage and bacon! MMmmmm I love breakfast food :) We started at the Archeology Museum, worked our way up to Trinity College, and then made the long walk over to the Guinness Factory. We left there pretty buzzed and meandered our way to the old Jameson distillery where we booked a tour and sat down for lunch. Our food was delicious, but our Jameson on the rocks was what really kept the day moving in the right direction. Next, we each enjoyed a specialty cocktail made with Jameson and then went on our tour, which ended with a tasting for me, and a Jameson and Ginger for both of us! As if we hadn't had enough, we decided to buy a tasting tray with a couple we had met, and we got to try samples of both 12 years, an 18 year, and a 25 year. We finally left with our goodies and caught a taxi to Temple Bar where we attempted to explore... but we ended up back at the room napping instead! We woke up for a late dinner and ended our night like an old couple yet again- back in the room catching some sleep!

Sunday was our Wild Wicklow Tour and we started early! It was a welcome change to get out of the city for the day and we got to see some beautiful sights outside of Dublin. After eight hours on the bus, we were ready to be back at our room, but we changed clothes and headed out to explore Temple Bar. We pub hopped for a few hours, hitting up some of the better-known joints in the area, and then went home to rest up for our last day of vacation.

For our last day in Dublin, we decided to check out Kilmingham Gaol, which was the most informational tour we did during our stay. We had to wait a little bit to get in, but the hour tour was worth the wait! It was kind of eery, but definitely interesting to be inside a jail that was once filled to the brim with women, men, and even children. After our tour we found a nice little cafe to have lunch and wait out a passing storm.  We tried to explore a few more places, but the Natural History Museum was closed and both of us were pretty tired of walking all over the place. We finally caught a bus back to the airport and relaxed until our flight home. We got back to Frankfurt Hahn at about 11 pm and made the 3 hour drive back to our house where we fell into bed and crashed until work the next morning!

Cody and I both thoroughly enjoyed our trip- but were reminded that we aren't city people at all! I got so sick of being bumped into and walking in a crowd all the time; I feel like all my time in small towns has given me some sort of anxiety about crowds, haha! I was so excited about all the options when we first arrived, but after the first night of wandering around trying to pick a restaurant for an hour, I decided that I would much rather have 6 great options than 60 unknown options! We have both turned into bumpkins, hehe :)  As cool as Dublin was, the next time we check out Ireland, we will stick purely to the countryside!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Crossfit Testimonial

I am an awful blogger- look at me neglecting the shit out of this thing... so irresponsible, right? ;)  I apologize to you all for my lack of writing, I just didn't really know what to say.
Okay, okay, I had an idea for this post like two weeks ago, but I have been putting it off because its kind of (very) cheesy and I tend to sound like an annoying infomercial when I talk about it. Also, (mainly) it is pretty personal. I have already talked about the content of this post to some of the closest people in my life, and they always reaffirm me and add meaningful commentary.  I feel a little funny about it, but I figure I can't leave it off the blog anymore.

Here it goes! (Be a dear and try not to judge)

Let's start with a little bit of insider info on me:
Before Cody and I moved here, we were living at Fort Rucker in Alabama. And before I was with Cody, I graduated from Morehead State University with a B.A. in English with a Secondary English Education Certification- which I have never even used. I subbed for two different school districts, but besides that, I have been working random serving and administrative jobs. For the first few months in Alabama, I didn't work at all, but once I was settled in, I found a job serving at Mellow Mushroom. After that job, I worked as the Administrator for a new restaurant, Cheddar's. I liked who I worked with at both of the jobs, but I didn't enjoy either of the jobs themselves, nor were they very meaningful (or financially rewarding). 

Sometimes, while living in Alabama, I struggled with not knowing what I was supposed to be doing, and I would feel like I was useless, or a loser, or that I should be furthering a career because that is what you are "supposed" to do when you "grow up." At the same time, I didn't know what direction to go in, didn't have a desire to try to find a teaching job (which I couldn't do anyways with not knowing when we would be moving away), and I couldn't even think of a different career-path that would be fulfilling. Even though I felt really lazy NOT working, I hated the unnecessary stress and unhappiness that I felt when working pointless, time-consuming, sometimes-demeaning jobs.

I had this imbedded idea of myself as a career-woman, which is what I always thought I wanted, and what I knew I was more than capable of. But I got to that point in life, and realized I didn't want it anymore, and I didn't know what to want instead. I was kind of disappointed in myself that I didn't want a career, because growing up with a single-mom, I knew that I should always be able to take care of myself. I always thought that as soon as I finished college I would start working and that would just be a part of my life. I never wanted to depend on anybody to take care of me past my college days, and there I was, depending on Cody. Other military wives were understanding of this aspect of Army life, but as much as I appreciated the understanding, it still didn't make me feel 100% okay with me.

Don't get me wrong, anybody who knows me knows that I am a pretty happy person in general; I don't spend much time "depressed," and I feel like I adapt pretty well to most circumstances. I was happy just being with Cody and being alive- I loved our friends and the community at Fort Rucker. But deep down, I felt very unsettled about my own life. I felt like the only interesting aspect of my life, and the only topic I had to talk about, was Cody's job; which is really pathetic because that has nothing to do with ME, at all. I hated feeling like I was in his shadow; I wanted something "cool" to care about, too, and something to work towards. I would tell Cody all the time that if I went to a high school reunion I would have nothing to show for myself... I was just a girl with a useless bachelors degree, living off of her husband, and barely making minimum wage. 

It was frustrating to know that I am an interesting, intelligent, capable woman, yet, nothing in my life spoke to that point...
Even though some of those aspects of my life haven't changed, I still feel like everything has changed since moving here. I know it sounds silly, but Crossfit has totally changed how I feel about myself and my life. 

I have gotten more and more hooked over the past 3 months, and I can not remember a time that I felt this passionate about something. I have always been a "quitter" in everything except school. I have tried almost every sport possible, but never wanted to stick with one, or put any time or effort in. I've had a million hair-brained schemes and not one has stuck. Now, as much as it can suck in the moment, I yearn for that feeling of pushing my limits. I am scared of what I read on the board somedays, but I never leave disappointed, and I always show up the next day. When it comes to Crossfit, I can't get enough. Even when I'm not at the box, I am absorbing all the information I can in books and videos and articles (ask Cody, its the truth). 

When I start my day at Crossfit Ansbach, I leave feeling full; I am happy and motivated to tackle whatever the day has in store. I feel like I'm rarely in a bad mood anymore, when I used to spend weeks just moping around- and although I still don't care about cleaning as much as Cody would like me to (haha), I feel like I'm on a roll the entire day- workout, cook, eat, clean, walk the dog, go the the grocery, write, read, cook dinner, ride my bike, etc.... 
This new-found passion has brought me success in other areas, too. It is so inspiring when my mind thinks there is no way I can finish a workout, but I do it anyway. I believe that inspiration has bled into other aspects of my life. I have noticed that many of the people I work out with are happy, successful, and driven; I don't know if it is because Crossfit attracts people with those traits, or if it makes those traits in people, but I'd be willing to bet its a combination of the two. Having the support of a community has to help (check out the video at the end for more thoughts on that). 

As far as I go, I've been keeping a blog since I got here, and like the other blogs I've had, it was meant for friends and family members to follow my travels. There was a time, in college, when I couldn't stop writing and I spent a lot of time in a creative writing community, sharing and reading and hanging out in coffee shops; but since then, writing has been an on-and-off hobby of mine. 
Amazingly, and thanks to my trainer/coach, one of my Crossfit posts was recently read by around 500 people! I almost couldn't believe it! It is so funny that I have tried to force myself to focus on my writing since those college days, with no success; but when I found passion in my life, it bled into my writing. All I ever wanted was for people to read something I wrote and get something out of it, and the Crossfit community made that happen.
Also, through focusing on this working out and all around interest in health, I finally found something that I would like to go back to school for- Dietetics. I love school, but I have had this hesitation about going back to school because I haven't even used my Bachelor's degree; why go into debt for another one? But since I have been doing Crossfit, I have been reading a lot of books on nutrition and I am so interested in it. Between my love of cooking, planning, working out, and eating healthy, it seems that I may have found a future career that I not only care about, but may also be monetarily rewarding, as well (something definitely lacking in my first career choice, haha). It would be even more amazing if I could combine studying diet with studying Crossfit, and maybe someday becoming Level One Certified. I am hitting some brick walls in my research, but I am hoping to figure out a way to move forward towards this new career path. (If any of you have any tips or insider information on becoming a dietician, please help me out!) **UPDATE: I am currently taking my first two classes heading towards my goal of becoming a Registered Dietician!**
On top of these, and several other, "side" effects of my new passion, there are the more obvious effects as well. I am getting really strong! I don't lift much compared to some of the more experienced women I work out with, but each step forward is still a huge accomplishment. The sky is the limit! I know in a years time I will be more fit than I could have ever imagined before. It feels amazing to push myself every single day, and the results I am seeing are pretty incredible. I have never felt so capable and healthy. I think that feeling of power is another reason I feel so happy and motivated outside of the box, too.

Mainly, I have goals for myself again. I feel like most of my pre-adult life was focused on going to college and getting my degree in four years. Once I completed that, I just floated around, lost and not sure what to latch onto. I took a year off to travel after college graduation, and once that was over, I didn't know where to turn. All my friends were either continuing school or starting up promising careers, (or stuck in the same rut as me) and I didn't want to go in those directions. I always knew I should have some sort of life-goals to reach for, but what goals are you supposed to have when you care about happiness more than a career, and haven't found one within the other? Finally, I am reaching towards daily improvement, and feeling motivated by those personal records I am sharing with everybody at Crossfit Ansbach.

I know that working out seems like a stupid life achievement to some, and I can laugh at myself when people poke fun, because it is does seem kind of silly that Crossfit is my passion- I know, I know, "its a cult and we drank the Koolaid." I guess the way I think about it is this: a job can't love you back for all the time and energy you put into it, but my body is the only body I will ever have, and the amount of care I put into it will hopefully pay me back with a healthy, long, and happy life. It isn't just the working out that has made Crossfit such an important part of my life in such a short time, but also the strong community that I have become a part of. Everybody should be greeted happily by people who care about them on a daily basis. I think I get just as much fulfillment and motivation from the hugs, hand-shakes, and high-fives I share with my Crossfit family as I do from the WOD...  

We are all in this together.

They always say it takes a village; thats just as true for us "adults," as it is for children.