Life is a Highway

Life is a highway. It is also a gravel road. This time of year it can smooth or full of potholes, bumpy or pitted, squishy and soggy, or a washboard. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve put a few miles on my car. I don’t always enjoy windshield time but the weather has been fairly decent and I am getting a nice left arm tan.

My travels have taken me through the Twin Cities a couple of times for some classes at the UMN. I’ve also been continuing with Cross Fit which adds and extra 30 miles to my daily commute. I’m on week 12 and still loving it. Yesterday was my worst day thus far and I learned a valuable lesson – all that stuff they tell you about sleep, water, and nutrition is absolutely true and I need to pay better attention!

I am finished with my classes and earned a Certificate in Organizational Development and Change Management. They even played pomp and circumstance when they handed out the certificates. Nice touch.

I’m trying to be smart about my travels and time on the road. I could have been gone four weekends in a row but opted for two. That means that a lot of graduation cards went in the mail – and that’s ok. I can’t be everywhere in person all the time.

Staying home hasn’t been super fruitful. Weather hasn’t cooperated much for outdoor activities. This weekend brought rain and unseasonably cool weather. The plus side is I got meal prep done early for this week, and laundry is caught up. Last weekend was 95 degrees and this weekend is 55 degrees. Much different.

I thought time would feel slower this summer but really it is the opposite. It is probably because there are things I want done and haven’t gotten to them yet.

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the day we moved in and took the keys to our new home. It fly by! We have had some rocky moments but while cleaning today was really appreciative of what we have and what we have worked so hard to get.

The Urge To Try

In my last post I talked about my new adventure into Cross Fit. I have five weeks behind me and I’m headed into week six. I am finding it enjoyable and challenging. This initial six weeks is part of a challenge group. After that I’m on my own. The challenge group comes with some extra support and guidance, particularly around nutrition.

Well, I got fearless on Friday night and decided to venture outside my routine. HUMMUS. I love hummus. For most people it’s things like French Fries or Doritos, or Fritos with Top The Tator. It’s hard to stop at just one bite or one serving (which happens to be 2T of hummus).

Most of my meals during the week are prepped but the weekends can be a little rogue. I got carried away and the next thing I knew I had consumed half the container.

To be honest I haven’t followed my plan to the letter. A few things have made it in to my meals or snacks that weren’t recommended. Raspberries for example. Eh, there are worse things I could eat. I have packed hummus with celery as a snack before but this was a wide open container on my counter. Not a good idea. Needless to say, I did not make it to the gym on Saturday morning. Tummy ache. I learned my lesson – enjoy in moderation. So I stopped at the grocery store on Saturday afternoon and bought three more containers. Hey, at least it wasn’t cookie dough!Snaccident:

1. n. Eating an entire box/bag of something by mistake.

(Credit: found on Facebook)

Time to Grow

As we come to the end of the first week of April one might think this post is about an upcoming landscaping project or preparations to plant a garden, but no. It is still winter where I live and it looks to be that way for a while.

I belong to a group on Facebook and the post today focused on reflecting on ways in which you have grown in life and share a thought.

As I reflected on this past year my “growth” was three pronged.

1. Intellectual Growth. It started 12 months ago when I took a new job. There was a learning curve associated with the switch from private to public sector but I have loved the challenge and opportunity to learn and grow. In my new role I have also been able to further pursue an area of personal interest – organizational development and change management. I’m currently on course to obtain a certificate in this area by June 1 and have begun leveraging my knowledge and expertise.

2. Spiritual Growth. Following our move last year the construction consumed all remaining free time over the summer. Last fall I set a goal to find a church to join. After a few months of church “shopping” (or hopping) we found one and will formalize it in April at the new member welcome and service.

3. Physical Growth. The job change threw a curve ball into my life. Because I ended up commuting for months I gave up my gym membership and trainer. For the past year, other than our construction project, I’ve basically been a couch potato. That ended a few weeks ago when I joined a Cross Fit gym. I’m loving every minute of it. It’s hard getting back into shape – physically and mentally. It is a community of regular people who support and encourage each other. You aren’t there to compete with anyone but yourself and I push myself pretty hard. I guess the same could be said for the other two areas – honing a new skill or connecting to a new community. You have a stretch yourself.

I’m sore today, and tired. But, I’m going to keep going. I’ve made a commitment to myself to continue to improve and that doesn’t happen sitting on the couch.

Gratitude

I am going to start by saying that I love Minnesota and really couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. However, there are days when the weather can leave you frustrated and dreaming of a beach.

Growing up here you learn to drive in all kinds of conditions. I don’t consider myself an overly cautious driver, but a smart one, when it comes to winter driving. I drive based on the elements. Today was just an all-around gross day. It snowed all day and it’s warm outside which lends itself to slushy, crappy roads. As I watched the snow fall throughout today I knew the drive home would not be a fun one. I had plans to work out after work and that meant driving a half hour to get there. I decided to leave a few minutes early to beat the rush.

I was taking my time, driving at a comfortable speed and paying close attention to the condition of the road when I see a black Dodge Charger doing 360* turns down the middle of the highway headed straight at me. Thinking back, it wasn’t an “oh holy sh&$” moment but more like a “you’ve got to be kidding me” kind of a thought. Like, “how the heck do I avoid this?!”

Well, I didn’t. I was able to slow down and get as far over to the shoulder as I could without driving into the ditch. It just wasn’t quite far enough. Hey, the car is still drivable and I’m not hurt. Grateful.

That isn’t what prompted me to share this post on gratitude. It’s what came after. So the other driver and I got off the highway. It happened near an intersection so we were able to pull onto a county road, assess the situation, call it in and then sit and wait for a deputy of come and write up a report. Frustrating, yes. Annoyed, yes. There I sat. I love the saying “It is what it is” and that’s where I was at in my head. About 5-10 minutes into my wait while I was on the phone with the claims adjuster I had my gratitude moment. As I sat at the intersection with my hazard lights on I was witness to a second accident just a few hundred feet down from where I got hit. Only this one was bad, really bad. I just said to the adjuster “I have to go” then hung up and called 911 for a second time. As people pulled off and ran to the vehicles I began describing the scene. Traffic in both directions came to a halt. As the emergency vehicles started to pour in I knew I would be there for a while. I was no longer the priority. I grabbed a safety vest out of the back of my car and walked up the road to one of the officers, explaining my observations and situation. Then I went back to wait. Eventually they got to me and to the driver who hit me. By that point it seemed like small potatoes in the grand scheme of things.

Gratitude. I remember thinking that to myself repeatedly – it could have been so much worse for me. I got lucky. The timing was only different by a few minutes. The location was roughly the same. Today, I have an immense amount of gratitude. I drove away. The other two cars, did not.

Be thankful for what you have and who you are. If you don’t like it, change it.

Motivation

I follow Simon Sinek and get a quote in my inbox daily. The one I received two days ago had great timing.

“The hardest part is starting. Once we get that out of the way, we’ll find the rest of the journey much easier.”

I decided that I should make better use of my free time. Before I made my career change and moved I was working out with a trainer three days a week. I got to that point after working with a clinical nutritionist for almost two years. She said to me that my body has a “happy weight” and likes to stick within +/- 5 pounds of it no matter what I try. Even after months of working out with a trainer I gave in and said she was right, but I physically felt better.

Fast forward a year. I made the decision to challenge myself to 6 weeks of Cross Fit. What I chose came with nutritional instruction. The meal prep is very similar to what I’ve done before but with way more water. I am five days in and still motivated to continue. Thursday and a Friday I could barely walk my thighs burned so bad but I believe in the “no pain no gain” thing. After all, it’s been a year since I’ve been in a gym. The people there have been great, very encouraging. I understand why they call it a community. Nutrition and exercise have never been a problem for me. My issue is finding the right combination that works. I have hope that this is it.

Whomever said eating healthy can’t taste good hasn’t met me.

No Place Like Home

The term “home” has lots of meanings these days. We have been busy the past few weekends. Last weekend we were out of town. I had Sunday to hang out in the Twin Cities before traveling back to our home in the country. Saturday night my husband and I had supper at a quaint, little Indian restaurant. We haven’t been able to have that since we moved. It was yummy! I had the chance to have breakfast at Panera Bread the next morning, visit Trader Joe’s for some goods, hang out at Starbucks and have lunch at Noodles and Co. These are all things we had in Mankato but are no longer near us. What a treat!

Home is also a local restaurant we are now regulars at and visit often. We are on a first name basis with the staff. Thy know what we drink. We are chatty and catch up when we visit. We love the food but even more than that, we love the atmosphere. It’s homey and familiar to us.

Home is our residence, they place we come home to at the end of the day. We have had old friends visit recently and stay with us. It is great to host and entertain, be able to show our friends our new world, and share the familiar stories and laughs.

Soon home will have another meaning – Home is where the heart is…and no matter where we are my husband and I are still home with each other.

Enjoy home wherever you are!

Bitter Cold

I think the weather has been a part of many recent posts but there isn’t much else to talk about in winter in MN – except the Vikings. SKOL!

This past week was brutal and we have at least four more days of this crap. Besides the cold it seems to be exceptionally windy lately. Being outside is hard. The cold hurts your face. Everything takes longer too. Longer to warm your car, longer to get places (you have to drive slower) and longer to do things (more clothes in the way and we just move slower in this weather).

This morning it was my turn to move snow. Fortunately for us we have a plow on our ATV. I have my doubts that it was above zero when I ventured out mid morning. The machine started hard, but it did start. That’s a blessing. I’m short in stature. I have to stand up to plow otherwise I can’t see ahead over the front and I usually have to lean forward too. The cold air was making my eyes water and my lashes were instant icicles. Up and down the driveway I buzzed. It went pretty quick I guess. It could have been worse.

So for the rest of the day – a pot of chili and some wood in the fireplace.

This was what I dealt with on the way to work on Thursday – snow and ice.