Friday, January 31, 2014

Winter!

Shew - it is snowy out there.  I am working from home cuz I am lucky to have a job where they let me take me laptop home and I knew a winter storm was coming. 

So I'm taking a quick break to write a bit.... nothing in particular, just taking a break.

When I work from home, I feed the animals at 3ish... it's only 2:30 and the dogs are STARING at me quite intently.  The cats are restless and every time I look in a cat's direction I get a question meow?  Or I get a little chirr-up?  

I think they want to be fed.

I am looking forward to the next few weeks.... this Sunday is the Walking Dead Seasons 1 & 2 marathon, then the Superbowl. 

I am a huge, giant weenie and Walking Dead gives me nightmares but I am TRYING to hang with it.  I am trying to think of the zombies and metaphors for all the scary unknowns you would face if civilization as we know it ceased to exist. 

I don't like monsters - and at the same time I also get disturbed by end of days sort of shows.  Walking is playing to my psycho fears!!!

While I WANT to believe people are good.  I think the more realistic scenario would be that our really ugly sides would show more and people would panic and cause great injury to each other.

Plus, I imagine what it would be like to lose friends or family and be forever cut off from people you know or love and the panic and hopelessness and fear and discomfort involved every day... no more running water?  No more grocery stores?  No more phone or Internet or central heating/cooling.... and if you got sick or injured... well you may be completely fucked with no Drs or hospitals.  I totally go there and "feel" what it might be like and I freak myself out... like way out.

So yeah.  Hard show for me to watch but for whatever reason, I WANT to watch it and get over myself.  ??  Am I subconsciously proving something to myself?  ???  Who knows?  And what would that proof be anyway???  grin.  I have no idea.

And while I'm not a huge football fan, I do enjoy the commercials and the hype and we plan on having yummy food available and I am all about food... so yeah.. a GREAT way to relax and come down from the adrenaline rush after watching zombies maim and kill and devour...

Bacon wrapped sweet potato bites.  Those will make EVERYTHING better.  I'm sure of it.

Next weekend we get our taxes done and while I don't think we will have any refund and I'm pretty sure we will owe $$, at least they will be done and I can *hope* we will get a refund.  After taxes, Shorty goes to her first Triebball class.  A sport developed in Germany that uses exercise balls in lieu of sheep and the dogs learn to herd them about.  I think it will be super interesting and I think Shorty will really have a lot of fun with it!  I am excited to learn something different and watch Shorty learn... see how she learns.  I haven't done much with her cuz she is more of Furry Husband's dog and I don't wanna break up that happy bond.

Weekend after that is the FOUR day agility show with Toe. 

Er. Ma. Gawd. 

Four days of driving to Denver and back to try and run around an agility course and earn the final qualifying score for Toe to get his AKC Standard Agility title and thus the final thing for his AKC Versatility Title.

I'm sort of looking forward to it because the venue is dog central... everything dog will be there... obedience, fly ball demos, conformation classes, agility... vendors for all things dog out the wazoo... which is fun to walk around and see.  Plus I can finally get my grooming scissors and clipper blades sharpened properly.  I've had them to some places around town and they haven't been quite right...

Tho I'm not looking forward to the drive every day... and I will make plans to see family while there...which isn't always easy and leaves me sometimes with not so very pleasant emotional baggage feelings.  shrug.  Whattya gonna do?   Put on your big girl panties and be a damn adult - that is what I'm gonna do.

Sera has been good, tho last weekend she pulled up lame.  grumble grumble.  We've had snow and melt and frozen, uneven ground, and more snow and more mud... and so it's possible she twisted something to took a mis-step.  Since it is snowy out and I can't - oh wait - don't want to ride in the cold... well... rest is my option right now. 

I have taken her on a couple road rides with a friend who started keeping her horse here and that has been a BLAST.  Sera has been a star for only having been on road rides like once or twice?  But she is mature now and we are definitely more in tune with each other... so I don't get as easily freaked out and she trusts my guidance more...

I am really looking forward to putting some miles on her this summer for trails and roads and just going out and going forward and having fun.  I think the nice long walk/trot down the road is doing her good.. both physically but also mentally for us both!

So things will be fun and interesting and keep me busy for the next few weeks anyway!  Cheers!! 








Thursday, January 9, 2014

Mornings and the funnies

Lately I have STRUGGLED to get up in the morning.  Man.  I don't know what that is about.  I think it is the cold and the dark but it's ALWAYS been cold and dark and I had no trouble getting up before? 

Anyway - once I haul my butt outta bed and we get our chores done.  It is coffee and comics time.  I love this part about my mornings!  I love sitting down with my hot cuppa' joe and digging into the funny pages.  Only of course they are all on-line now and not in the newspaper.  Or if they are in the newspaper it is a measly offering of comics.

I think they are artists.  They create characters... they draw and their drawings always look the same - how do they do that???  And they come up with such clever ideas and "stories" that can be told in 4 tiny windows or less.... amazing to me.  They are all so unique to whomever the cartoonist is.  AND they can defy all realms of reality. 

Anything can be brought to life... animals, inanimate objects, people....

I know comics are maybe something people don't think about but man, I LOVE them and have huge respect for all those cartoonists out there... I seriously look forward to my funny papers every. single. day. 

Cheers and have a fabulous day today! 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Colorado Kennel Club

K....I'm happy .... and bored cuz it is snowy and cold and almost dark outside.  And I got such a nice comment from Funder that I thought I really *should* try to post more.  Grin. 

Entered Toe in the CKC dog show February 14-17.  Oy, four days of agility!  I know I am not a die hard agility handler cuz I am not looking forward to driving 1.5 hrs each way to Denver and back.  However, I wanted to get his versatility title thru AKC, do dog performance stuff I'd never done and he is ONE qualifying score away from his standard agility title.  The last title needed for the versatility title....  He has his tracking title, obedience title, rally title and jumpers with weaves title....shew!

Figure 4 days of running courses I have a pretty good shot.  We will be in classes Jan & Feb leading up to the show which helps me to figure out running and remembering all the body language needed....when classes have been sporadic like over the holidays, my already beginner handling skill just deteriorates into crap.  There is a reason I was never a hunter/jumper...can't remember courses to save my life.  At least with Dressage tests the patterns only change after years...I can memorize them for months and months.  

Agility has been HARD!  It's so much like working with horses only with dogs you aren't on them - you are on the ground and every facial expression, movement, and step is read by your dog.  I have learned a lot, and know it's only a drop in the bucket.   Wish me luck!  

Happy S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y night!    70's songs just run thru my head.....

Cheers!





Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy 2014!

Hello!  I know this blog has been allowed to go a little dormant.... however, when I am sad and a little on the depressed side, I tend to be way more in my own head and I write more - even tho' my posts for the most part are cheerful.  I mean, yeah, I AM cheerful and I enjoy finding humor in most everything in life ... and still when I was struggling with a bit o' the depressive side there was always a bit of a shadow - or brain bugs - or that f*&^ing demented hamster running on a wheel in my head that woulnd't stop - and that is why I wrote more and posted more.

Eating 100% better than I used to and moving 100% more really, really fixed that issue 98% of the time. 

Personally, I think my diet before contributed greatly to this shadow of depression.  I ate mostly processed food stuff like the diet industry's fat-free anything, pizza, pasta, man-made foods - ummmm -  what the hell IS Velveeta anyway?  Personally I think your body just wasn't made to thrive off those things and we would all be better off eating foods we recognize... things that are "real". 

Yeah - like broccoli, squash, chicken, beef, fish, eggs, pork, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, spinach, pears, pomegranates, avocados, nuts - veggies, proteins, fruits...things that are what they are without the ingredient list a mile long.  Things typically found on the outside aisles of your local grocery store....

And yes, it took time and patience to learn to eat these things as I was not raised on anything remotely resembling healthy.  Yes, it was difficult.  However, you CAN love these things and I DO love these things now.  Never thought I could or would like veggies or fruits and now I do for reals and for true.  Both for how they taste and for how they make me feel.

Then came the exercise and moving piece...  and I did well on my own to start.  I had success with basic bodyweight movement and sprints. 

I hurt myself sprinting while on my own - didn't warm up enough - and I went to a PT that my lunchtime yoga instructor recommended.  She fixed my issue and would show me where I was injured in anatomy books and explain what she was doing to help me.  Very much appreciated.  Yet when I excitedly told her about the things I was doing at home, she told me I should stop because I would get really "bulky" and man-like in my musculature.  This made me sad and I knew enough to know that wasn't true.  Knew this was one of those fitness myths I'd read about and women are so much more capable....and sad this myth is so pervasive. 

We moved on to Crossfit cuz we had friends who SWORE by it and drank that kool-aid by the gallon.  grin. 

Then my elbows got a bit trashed from all the high reps in Crossfit... beginning with my left elbow.  The coach there was grumpy and annoyed by my seemingly endless questions... I know.  I just have questions!  And I wanted to know more and more and more but that enthusiasm was too much for his grumpy soul and our personalities didn't jive.

I asked him about my elbow when it first began to hurt and I think he had just had it with me.  He told me I could have wrung out a towel too hard for all he knew.  He told me I should use this to my advantage to practice one-arm pull ups with the "good" elbow. 

Which didn't make any sense to me because I couldn't even do ONE normal pull up.  How in the hell would I just start knocking out one-arm pull ups and if my left elbow was hurting... I didn't want to trash out my right one.  And I was not having fun any more there - just didn't "believe" in the kool-aid anymore after a year.  

I recently went to a kettlebell guy in town.  He had been helpful - absolutely - in critiquing my swing and in making sure I am creating tension in my core to assist me with movement.  When I told him of my pull-up goals he thought I should do high reps to attain them.  I tried this.  And the high rep thing just.  isn't.  working.  My right elbow hurts and I'm still not any closer to my pull ups.  I don't think this method is wrong per se, but damn, MY body just can't handle it and there HAS to be another way.  I am feeling so frustrated by my injuries.  

I looked at working remotely with WG-Fit and Dave Hedges in Ireland back in August (because isn't the Internet so freaking cool?  You can meet up and connect with people you would NEVER know or run into otherwise).... he thought he might start up some on-line training.  Tho' it hasn't happened.  He showed support for my efforts and was kind enough to answer questions I had without being condescending which I was so, so grateful for.  Tho again, I think I am a little too all over the place in my excitement... Shannon-esque you might say ... with my enthusiasm and endless questions.  *head hangs in sorrow*    He has a blog chock full of good information and video demos to learn from as well - totally nice guy who knows his shit but he is in Ireland and I am in Colorado.  

I am reading, reading, reading.... trying to learn all I can about fitness because it is truly amazing to me how it has made me feel SO. MUCH. BETTER.  

I just can't begin to explain how much better it is in my own head and how I feel empowered cuz I did it.  No one did it for me.  I did it.  I am the one who figured out foods and how to cook them and I am the one who began moving and being consistent in movement and I am the one that helped myself to feel so much better and I am the one who changed my body.  I did this.  No one else could have done it for me.  It was all up to me and like those motivational childrens movies with a moral at the end... I HAD THE POWER INSIDE MYSELF ALL THIS TIME.  And you do too... we all do.  We are all so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for.

I am going to work remotely with Cori of Redefining Strength and Man Bicep.  Check her out here and here.  She is the real deal.  Not a bunch of fake marketing b.s.  But real exercises, real technique focused on proper form and movement.  Real rehab and recovery techniques. 

AND the best part to me right now - when I feel I have been chasing away everyone in the fitness world with my Shannon-esque -  she is enthusiastic and I don't think I scare her or have driven her crazy ... yet. 

I know I can be "overwhelming" in my excitement.  It is a blessing many times being the YES, YES, YES - JUMP IN WITH BOTH FEET - YAHOOO!!!! sort of person .....tho' it has bitten me in the ass as well.  I am really looking forward to working with a woman and having some female energy injected into my fitness journey.  I need help with all the detail stuff and progressing. 

She is going to help me figure out how to write some programming with my specific goals in mind --- with my capabilities and limits and how to expand in ways that won't injure me.  I am so willing to put in work and effort, and I just don't want to hurt myself anymore in that work and effort.  There has to be a way to make progress without injury.  I think there is a "work smarter - not harder" element here to be learned. 

And I am really hoping she can help me to put a filter on the things I read and help me to think about them and how one would go applying them.... I seriously looked at going back to college and getting a degree in exercise and kinethesiology at my ripe old age of 43... but I am so over getting more and more in huge debt with college loans.  Feels like I'll never have my Masters degree paid off as it is.... 

I know we have something to learn from everyone we encounter.**  And I so want to learn....

So anyway - check out Man Bicep and Redefining Strength for loads of good info and maybe you want to take some online training too?  Or subscribe to an exercise library full o' good workouts? 

And while I think about this blog... it is a good thing when I am away cuz it means I am out in the real world moving and living and not under that little shadow of depression and the brain bugs are gone and the hamster is quiet. 

I wish you all much love and peace and strength in this new year of 2014!!!

**(I'm not a Crossfit hater - I struggle with residual bad feelings but I think that has a lot to do with ME and not the sport itself.  I still watch the Games on ESPN and I still love Elizabeth Akinwale.  I think a lot of people do well with it - I don't think it is the absolute recipie for grievous injury and rhabdo - I enjoyed it for a time!  AND even tho my crossfit coach and I did not mesh well in the end, I DID learn from him, yes - good things too.  Before he got fed up with me... and eventually I from him.  heh)










Friday, July 26, 2013

Changes

CHANGE!  It's hard man.  Even when change is wanted and needed, it's still hard to adjust to it.  And it's scary.

I talk about how Furry Husband and I changed up our lifestyle... eating much better foods, moving more etc.  We started going to a crossfit gym in our area and we did crossfit for a year.  That year is up and I think I have decided to not pursue crossfit any more.

I appreciated a lot about it.  I appreciated the bonds I formed with the other people we worked out with.  The support we all gave each other and seeing the same faces each day was really cool.  Getting to know new people and they were all such GOOD people.  Truly good people.

I learned how to really push myself and see what I was capable of.  I learned to push past the point that my brain said stop, it's too hard.  Not into pain or anything like that - but you work out and a lot of time we still stay in our own comfort zone.  We reach a point and think well, that is good enough.  Only, I discovered, we are capable of so much more and that was a pretty cool thing.  Confidence in myself and my ability really soared.

These are good things!

However, there came a point where I thought to myself... well, what IS the point exactly? 

I read a lot of fitness articles by various coaches.  Not so much that I'm all ADD of lets do THIS...oh, wait...180 and lets try THAT... oh... look over here...how about THE OTHER!

I found fitness in a way is very similar to Dressage... there can be a main philosophy or message/method and you find people that say that message in a slightly different way.  Those people all follow that general methodology and yet, they say things in ways allowing you to think about something from another angle.  Even though your main Dressage instructor has been telling you the same. exact. thing.  --- sometimes you hear it from another source and you have an "aha!" moment.  The messages all support the same goal/method.

I kept reading from some people I found most consistant and explanatory and who all followed the same basic methodology.  Dave Hedges of Wild Geese Fitness in Ireland (http://wg-fit.com/), Tony Gentilcore of Cressey Performance in MA (http://www.tonygentilcore.com/), Martin Rooney of Training for Warriors (http://www.trainingforwarriors.com/blog/), Nia Shanks of Lift Like a Girl out of KY (http://www.niashanks.com/blog/)  and most recently Man Bicep - another woman YAY! - out of CA (http://manbicep.com/). 

We have DVDs from Dan John workshops we are watching and a couple Dan John books as well as a Pavel Tsatouline and Mike Mahler kettlebell books... we have some e-books from Dave Hedges on programming, bodyweight moves and Nia Shanks for some weightlifting.  We have LOTS of information. 

I read them online regularly and they link to other articles/authors that fit within their philosophy.  And in all of my reading, there is a lot of info out there about crossfit that isn't so great.

I was aware of these ideas going in to crossfit.  I kept them in mind while working out in crossfit... and I guess after a while, I began to think about what those negatives meant to me.  As the weights got heavier and I got stronger and I looked at other programming from other strong/fit people and saw that many don't believe in complex lifts under weight until completely fatigued.  You just don't see a lot of people doing a heavy olympic lift 60 times in a workout... well, unless it's crossfit.

And then my elbow began to have trouble... and Dave began to have nagging hamstring things going on.  We saw friends we worked out with complain of nagging injuries...and a few that had serious injuries.  And I can't say they were a direct result of something in crossfit, however, it just caused me to think harder and pay closer attention.  We both felt tired and beat up all the time.  Both Dave and I talked about how we missed seeing some linear progressions and we missed working on things we enjoyed in a way that we could eventurally master them.  Like pistol squats... they only come up in crossfit workouts once every 3 months and I didnt' have enough "umph" left in me to practice them on my own.  It would be fun to incorporate stuff like that, master those moves - along with other things we want to learn.  And how the crossfit workouts are pretty high milage and did we have it in us to keep doing them long term...for years and years? 

I decided, I did not have it in me to keep going.  I don't see the point any more.  Furry Husband and I began to talk more and more and decided to step back.

So it is totally scary to us because yes, of course, we made a lot of gains while working hard at crossfit.  I can't say it's "bad".  If you are aware of the negatives and you love it and you are sure to take care of any injuries you might get (just as with any sport)... more power to you.  I'm not going to become a crossfit hater.  I think we both learned a lot this past year even if we decide it's not for us in the long run. 

So we wonder what the next fitness chapter is going to be.  I don't want to lose what I have gained in muscles, strength, endurance.  Crossfit is all we have known for a year. 

Honestly, the bodyweight stuff still gets me geeked - pullups, pushups, squats and the myriad of variations.  Kettlebells get Furry Husband geeked....  we are reassessing our goals and creating some routines/programming to incorporate both things.  It is good to think for yourself... even tho it is a little scary and unsure.  It is good to question and think about things vs. accepting everything sort of blindly and just doing it.... because.  You gotta have that why and know what your why for doing something is.

It's interesting.  Not easy - but it is certainly interesting.

We will be cleaning out our bunkhouse this weekend to make a dedicated workout area for winter time or inclement weather... otherwise the great outdoors is our playground and we'll be experimenting with lots of moving using bodyweight, kettlebells, dumbbells with plates, a sloshpipe, a pullup bar, sandbags, tires, sledgehammer, and even a pulling harness to strap into... can't wait to strap myself to the ol' Subaru stationwagon and pull Furry Husband down the road....

Wonder what the neighbors are gonna think about THAT?  grin. 


Friday, July 19, 2013

Missing in Action....

I know.  Totally been ignoring "the blog world".  shrug.  It's not as if I ever have world changing or riveting things to write about.  And I have felt so BUSY lately.

My job is busier with more responsibility which is a great thing!  The new "lifestyle" Dave and I are living - no, no, no - not the swinger lifestyle you dirty people!  grin..... but the fitness lifestyle has eaten up a lot of time.  And it's not really the working out part... it seems to be the food part.  Preppingand making good, healthy food every night takes time.  Or maybe both of those things together...

I am still riding my red mule, Sera Sue.  I am still taking agility lessons with Little Toe.  And all of that leaves me running it seems from 4:00AM when we get up to 8:30-9:00PM at night. 

Not that I am complaining.  I love my life and the people in it and I have full control of cutting back and making choices to do that.... it's just .... I don't want to!  I want to fit it ALL in... which is hard to do and blogging just really seems to falls by the ol' wayside.

And if you don't write, people don't read and then your blog, which was small to begin with, withers down and atrophys and then it's just a little online diary for your own shits and giggles.  And I'm coo wif 'dat.

SO!  Where do I begin?  Let's talk dogs.

We lost our old dogs... both Sammy and Bequia died about 4 months ago.  They were 12 and 13 respectively.  We were sad, however, they were well loved and cared for and were very much a part of our lives and days... how can a dog ask for more?  We were lucky to have them in our lives for as long as we did.

We lost Keenan - our problem child dog - that was the hardest thing we've ever been through because she was very young when she died and the difficulty we experienced with her in almost every way really made us question our ability to be good dog owners ever again.  Somehow I think us humans focus in on our negative experiences vs. the positives.  So even tho we had past success with Booker, Sammy, Bequia and Little Toe ... we just thought after Keenan we maybe should not own dogs cuz we were incompetent. 

I'm glad that didn't last long.  We started looking and tried working with rescue groups to find another dog to come into our lives even tho' we were pretty nervous and hesitant about it. 

Here is what we discovered.  Rescue groups can be difficult.  I know they totally mean well and I'm sure there are many rescues who work quickly.  However, the first rescue group we worked with has us interviewed over the phone by 3 different staff members to make sure we were ok on paper.  We had a house visit.  We had to talk with a behaviourist.  More interviews.  Then when we finally met a dog they wanted to pair us with, they decided they didn't like our fencing.  It was absolutely maddening.

We moved on to another rescue group... they moved more efficiently.  However, they couldn't get to a home visit which was necessary in order to adopt a dog because we were remote comparatively to their HQ and weeks went by.

Finally we said, "fuck it"... pardon my French...it had been months.

We went to a humane society in Boulder, CO.  We filled out an application, looked at all the dogs held inside, visited with one and brought her home.  The Boulder shelter partners with high kill shelters in other states.  The dog we brought home is a year old, female, cattle dog mix from a high kill shelter in OK.  She is an absolute JOY to have around.

Furry Husband is taking her to a basic obedience class and I have started playing around teaching her a couple tricks... she is very fun.  She loves all things canine and is happy to see people of all ages, shapes and sizes - big and small, she loves them all.

She is full of such happiness and while quite leery of us at first... any time we had something in our hands like a shovel or rake or apple picker she stayed very very far away... think she was not treated very well wherever she came from.  She figured out very fast that we are not the hitting sort of home and her confidence has blossomed.  We named her Shorty... it somehow just fit her. 

So - rescues - while absolutely needed in this world and I believe they have the very best intentions and I think there are probably many that are very very good at what they do; I think many have made it so difficult to actually adopt a dog that they are missing the larger picture. 

I get it... I totally get that they don't want dogs coming back and they don't want dogs ending up in bad situations again.  However, in my opinion, it would be easier for me to get pregnant and have an actual human baby than it was to try and adopt a dog from the rescues we contacted.

I realize all rescues are not this way.  However, by the time we went through the hoops of two rescue organizations, we were fed-up by the process and just wanted to adopt a dog that needed a home. 

So we did.  And it is a beautiful thing...  

Cheers and happy Friday!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Kitteh and The Turd

We have a little black tortoiseshell kitteh... she is about 2 now.  She was a pretty sick little kitteh when we got her home from the humane society until we figured out her issues.  She has to eat a certain type of canned cat food or she has explosive diarrhea.  I think I posted about it, no?

Anyway, because of this, we have to separate her when we feed the cats or she runs frantically from food dish to food dish and she eats all the food in each bowl with ONE GIANT BITE.  Our other cats were losing weight and looking at us with starving, hollow eyes because they weren't getting much if any food.

We started locking our little kitteh - affectionately called "Kettlebell" for her *ahem* round shape - in the bathtub and closing the shower door during meal times.  She gets her portion o' food, the other cats get their food, they put on weight and stopped looking at us with baleful, hungry stares and lashing tails. 

Win - win.

Sometimes, Kettlebell will poop in the bathtub.  shrug.  I guess when you gotta go, you gotta go.  At least it's easy clean up right? 

The other day, she pooped in the bathtub.  We hadn't had a chance to clean it up yet, however, we had opened the door and set her free.  Furry Husband was in the bathroom and heard a "rattle, rattle, rattle" coming from the bathtub.

Next thing you know, little Kettlebell pops up.  Cute, dainty, furry paws on the edge of the tub, sweet face with wide-eyed wonderment ... and her own turd in her mouth!  She had been batting it around the bathtub and was apparently going to make a mad dash somewhere else to play with it.

I just heard a panicked, deep shout of, "DROP IT!"  outta Furry Husband from the bathroom...

And it still makes me laugh.

What cat plays with it's own turds??   Only in our house.  Hooo boy.   Sheesh.