Friday, July 26, 2013


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 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 (, Tony Gentilcore of Cressey Performance in MA (, Martin Rooney of Training for Warriors (, Nia Shanks of Lift Like a Girl out of KY (  and most recently Man Bicep - another woman YAY! - out of CA ( 

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 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.  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Happy New Year

Wow - I never post here anymore.  It seems life goes along without many blog worthy interesting things and one gets swept up in daily routine...

Let's see what's been going on in Shanster's world.

I've been working hard and eating real foods - cut way back on sugar and processed things.  I feel better than I ever have before.  It's actually fixed a lot of the brain bugs I've always had. 

Supposedly depression runs rampant on the paternal side o' the family and from what I hear, the maternal side hasn't been all that cheery either.  I figured fighting depression was par for the course, it was "normal" in our family and it was only going to get worse as I aged. 


Turns out eating fruits, tons of vegetables, proteins like beef, pork, poultry and fish with some dairy thrown in here and there (cuz after all I do milk goats two times a day)... has done WONDERS.  Add in some exercise... and voila.  Brain bugs gone.

Not to say I don't get sad or upset about certain things, of course I do.  Those things are still there, only there is not this oppressive, heavy weight to fight hanging on me all the time at every turn which is absolutely amazing and wonderful.

I learned and am learning how bad the diet and fitness industry is... lies mostly.  Low fat "diet" food crap is still crap.  It's still chemicals and processed food and marketing to the masses.  Your body doesn't know what to make of all that chemical, man-made food.  Eat like your great grandparents did, before there were 100 calorie snack packs of Oreos or strawberry filled low fat cereal bars or fruit loops or Velveeta.

You can eat a shit ton o' food as long as it's the right kind of food.  I eat so much more than I ever have in my entire life...and I've been told in my past that I can pack it away like an Iowa farm boy.  So yeah.  Now I eat MORE than an Iowa farm boy. 

A guy at work who is 6'4" - maybe 6'6"?  He says I am his hero because I eat so much.  I out eat him.  And I am now a size 8.  I have NEVER been a size 8.  Not in high school or college or even grade school.  Was always "the big boned" sort or in grade school the "extra baby fat" sort.   Not that size defines anything, I liked myself when I was larger and I like myself now.  That hasn't changed - I'm still the same person.  

I'm jus' sayin' for any non-believers - I EAT and I feel GOOD and I have decreased in size tho' I am only 5lbs lighter than I was when I was in high school and a size 12.  It's just now I am feeding myself right vs. Suzy Qs and Mountain Dew for breakfast, fast food for lunch and Kraft Mac & Cheese for dinner... my body is loving it and responding to it in every possible way - emotionally and physically.

I eat a plate full o' vegetables - I'm talkin' 3-4 cups of broccoli with dinner - possibly more or 1/2 of a very large butternut squash or a head of large cauliflower... with some protein like 2 pork chops, a nice big steak or hunk of fish or 1/2 of a roasted chicken... add a bit o' fat (yup, I eat the chicken skin, and I drizzle my veggies with olive oil or flavor it with butter) cuz it ain't the enemy despite what conventional wisdom says and some carbs which are found in my veggies or I eat fruit cuz carbs aren't the enemy either and chow the *F* down.  People tell me my salad portions are enough to feed their whole family.  I am teased I should use a feed bag or a trough at meal times.  Yup.  And I love every single bite.

Conventional "exercise" putting yourself on the treadmill for hours isn't going to get you anywhere either. My workouts are sometimes 7 minutes and sometimes 30 minutes.  Rarely are they 45 minutes or over.  I work so hard I can barely breathe in those few minutes.  Plain ol' calisthenics - push ups, squats, pull ups, carrying or lifting heavy things and variations of those things.  Modify as needed to your ability.  Just work hard when you work.  Make it count.  It fires up your furnace for the rest of the day. 

Gots to work in tandem tho'... diet - not fad diet - but diet as in what you consume every day AND moving more.  You can't out-exercise crap food.  I started with diet and gradually added in exercise as I could.  I didn't change everything all at once - that would have been too overwhelming.  Baby steps. 

It's simple.  And hard. 

Of course I want to eat Doritos and Oreos and order a giant pizza with extra cheese and pepperoni with a giant Mountain Dew.  Yes, I want those chocolate chip cookies you are eating.  Of course I'd love to open a bag of kettle chip Lays potato chips.  And I would rather sleep in and lay on the couch...however our bodies were meant to move.  And with everything, habits are made the more you practice.  I move.

However, to me, not moving and eating poorly is simply not worth the depression or sleepless nights.  Besides - when you eat 3 large heads of broccoli and 2 pork chops with 32oz o' water for dinner?  You don't feel much like dialing up the ol' pizza palace cuz you are pretty full.

Anyway - that is where I've been I guess.  Learning all about that stuff.

I am still riding.  Still working on my flying changes - however in winter, I ride once and if I'm lucky twice a week so not like I'm drilling every day.  They are getting better and better.  I'm looking forward to longer days and more time in the saddle.

I am still practicing agility with my little dog, Toe.  He has 6 in-line weaves now and at the Novice level in AKC they only use 6 vs. 12 ... so I guess that means I should start entering competitions!  Gulp.  And I need to get my butt in gear to do 12... and I have NO IDEA why I have such a mental block or fear of weaves.  Rolling eyes at self.

We are fostering a rescue dog this month because we lost our big yellow dog about 3 months ago.  We are just now beginning to feel like we can move forward and test the doggie waters again.  I hope the foster is a positive experience.

My deceased Dad has been on my brain lately - there is some finder company that says they found some $ of his somewhere.  They will provide it to me for 20% of the cut.  They seem like mobsters to me when I talked with them.  Sounded just like Tony Soprano and his crew.

However, when I talked to the state treasurer, they say it's law that the funds will be released to the state in 5 years and to check the state site now and again.  I checked the other day and accidentally clicked on a link that LOOKED like the state treasurer - only it was another finder company and only after I entered Dad's name did I realize this.

Now I am being spammed with all sorts of things geared toward Dad and his "interests"... and his last years were pretty durned seedy as he lost his mind or maybe he finally let loose what was always there.  Who knows.  Do we ever truly know any one?  Maybe not.  So every day lately I've been reminded of all of his badness and everything I dealt with for the last years of his life.  And it is really bumming me out.  Not feeling so great about my family right now and where I came from.

So see?  Problems still there, they don't go away.  However, I can only imagine how bad they'd be if I was still jacked up on fake foods and thank goodness for my 10 minutes and 28 seconds of hard work this morning...helps get that aggression and bad feeling OUT. 

Endorphins.  Gotta love 'em.

And practicing the here and now.  I am here.  I have such a great life and such a great husband and friends and I have made the life I want.  Right here and right now.  Wolf!  (If you have not read Stephen King/Peter Straub and their book,  The Talisman - do it now!)

Hope everyone is well and still out there fighting the good fight!  Cheers!