challenges

Shattered

My daughter got a cameo on the big stage…a chance to play on the field of an NFL stadium. Only five minutes. A handful of plays. But I knew it would be an experience she wouldn’t forget.

Of course I had to go cheer her on. We traveled to downtown Atlanta, a far cry from our suburban home. Waze dropped us in a part of town I didn’t know that well. I felt pretty good that we found free parking on the street about 8 blocks from the stadium. We pulled in and walked to the game.

There was a clear bag policy and I forgot my clear bag. Ugh. I grabbed my wallet and cash from my purse. Not sure why…I usually wouldn’t take all that in my pockets, but I figured better safe than sorry.

We took in all the sights and sounds of an NFL game. We cheered when she passed to a teammate who ran it in for a TD. She made her mark.

Flash forward to a couple of hours later. A rain storm had hit. I don’t really care about NFL football so we headed back to the car shortly after halftime. We passed a car about 10 spots away from ours that was going through their trunk, etc. as we walked by. I didn’t think anything of it. Then, as we approached my car, I noticed debris all over the sidewalk. The first thing I saw were my daughter’s faces. Their buttons from years of playing sports. I was so confused. Why were they on this wet sidewalk? Then, toiletries. Those were from my gym bag. And then I looked up to see my passenger side window, broken. Shattered. It took a minute to set in. A smash and grab.

I had been robbed.

Too many details to share here about what got taken, what got overlooked. (They skipped all my gift cards, took my airpods…) Things that were valuable to me that had no meaning to the thieves. There were at least 10 cars that had the same thing happen on this block. Some got hit others got missed. I assume it was because I had bags on my seats. I called the police but they did not come. So we drove the long chilly January air conditioned highway home.

As we drove, I said out loud all the things I was thankful for. They didn’t take those gift cards or my triathlon medal. They didn’t take my awesome stadium blanket or some other valuables I had stashed away. I can only figure they were after cash and easy sellables. Probably addicts.

I was thankful I did not walk up on them while they were doing this. I was thankful my car was otherwise unharmed. I was thankful I am not in a position where this setback would be a real mental or financial hardship. I am SO thankful something whispered to me to take my wallet! It could have been so much worse. I really was not shaken or shattered inside. I can only attribute this to my mindset work and knowing to keep losses in perspective. I would not have responded this way a few years ago.

In a few days, with the help of my family, my car was fixed and all of this was in the rear view. Am I glad it happened? Of course not. But I am grateful my life pushes on. Building your mental and physical muscles matters. I remembered this quote from Dutch Bros. Something I aspire to. There are still a handful of people and situations that can get into my mental fortress, but not nearly as many as there used to be.

perspective

I’m Back

I took a writing hiatus. It was just a couple of weeks but that means my funnel is thin. Things could be worse I suppose.

While I was away I was doing a bunch of this, that, the other, and then dealing with some unneeded bullshit. It happens but it sucks when it’s from sources who should just keep their ugliness to themselves.

That statement in itself can be all encompassing.  Unfortunately it’s life. Life has ups and downs. For instance I’ve had some moochers in my life. They have been around for a couple of years now. I’ve exercised patience. I’ve trimmed back on kindness. No matter what olive branch is offered the mooch status remains the same. Take take take. I’m sure after the holidays my patience for ignorance will expire. I can only hope the moochers have a plan. A plan of being self-reliant. Fingers crossed for the moochers.

While I noted moochers above I also deal with a stalker. Not just any stalker. One who creeps. Persistently puts their presence in my path. The sole reason for the stalking is ludicrous at best but I guess I’m that person’s entertainment or fascination. Out of an abundance of caution I change the vehicles I drive. I change my arrival times and locations. I avoid certain places. Hopefully the stalker enjoys my life show but I have no idea why one would be continuing to follow me for so long. It’s a shit show most days but any individual stalking me should know I am well aware of their presence. It’s clear my life is far more interesting than theirs. I’m sure they even read this blog. Oh wait I know they do. Funny, right? Maybe this is a hint to move on. Or more like a subtle nudging to move along.

Oh, my fall travel spots. I’ve hit the cold up north more than once. I headed out west and lived my best ranch girl life. The airports. The car rentals. The hotels. The people in my path. The experiences as a whole were remarkable. I learned. I grew. I laughed. I smiled. I ate way too much. I even shopped til I dropped. No regrets despite being a roadie for many weeks.

Thank goodness for FaceTime. I had many strategic calls but also many puppy chats with my two main ladies. Teddie and Bear were always treated like royalty while I was away and the pet sitters always made times for FaceTime chats. As I sit at the airport waiting on a holiday flight delay I know my girls know I’m on the final leg of my travels and will greet me as soon as I open the door at home. The excitement they will have will be beyond description here. 

Until my next post I will leave you with this tidbit. 2022 is on the horizon. A new year. The pandemic has begun to fade. As the new year rings in I will be shifting my online post writing to pen and paper for my next book series. The muck and crud had us focus more online since early 2020 but as the world shifts so will our brand. Back to the basics. Back to writing. You will still catch a rant here and there online but the bulk will shift to secrecy until you can flip the pages of the next book.

Now the big question is what’s next up? That’s hard to say. Many projects were mid- stream but some sit on the cutting room floor just because they seem so yesterday or pre-pandemic. Or better yet the time before I am the me I am now. 

The me I am today may choose a different creative path than I would have in 2019. A little older.  A little wiser. I little more fascinated about writing for different audiences. Kids books will always hold a sweet spot in my life but so do many other projects. Guess you will have to see what’s next up. Whatever it is it has to fit in with my crazy life that runs on warp speed most days.

challenges

The Off Season

I am a teacher. I work from 8:00 am (or earlier) until 4:00 pm 190 days a year. During those hours I am a role model for little kids, a good colleague to my co-workers, and so on. What happens when I head out to stores to do errands after school?

As an elementary school teacher, I honestly still watch myself a lot of the time. I know I could look up at a store or restaurant and see little eyes looking up at me with an incredulous squeal: Mom, it’s Dr. Friese!! This has happened many times. For that reason, I can’t be cursing or loading up on margaritas when I am out and about, especially within a certain radius of my school.

This self-censorship of sorts extends to social media. I rarely post anything except for very “innocent” family or fitness updates. I stay out of photos where drinking or other grown-up activities are involved. I don’t post political content as much as I can avoid it. I have just a handful of select parents who can see what I post. Otherwise, I just refuse most of those requests, but I am still aware than many people could be looking. I sit through legal presentations each year that share examples of teachers losing their jobs because they post themselves doing legal, adult things online that a parent used against them. Better safe than sued or jobless is my mindset, I guess.

Some comments lately had me wondering if this is fair…as a teacher, I feel expected to hold up some sort of rated-G moral standard no matter where I am. The other roughly 14 hours a day and 175 days a year I am not at school, I often mentally steer away from situations where I can be captured doing “inappropriate” things. But is it fair to expect that I’ll just be basically angelic most of the time? Is being a teacher what I do or who I am? Who gets to decide?

Others close to me have been in this situation lately as well. A friend who is a nurse had a family member go through a medical crisis. She wasn’t completely happy with the way all the care was going and let the staff know it. She wasn’t ugly or unreasonable as much as firm and inquisitive. She was told she wasn’t being professional. But her role in this situation was that of a family member advocating for her parents’ health. Does she have to be a professional even in her personal life?

What other jobs seem to carry the expectation of acting a certain way 24/7/365… am I always a mother? A father? How about the captain of an athletic team? Do I have to behave “as a captain” even in the off season? What does that mean? If I am a forklift operator or a chef, I don’t have the weight of those jobs following me around all the time. How about an athletic coach to young people? A politician? A priest? A police officer? Why do some jobs or roles become identities and others allow you to clock out and just be who you are?

I don’t have solutions for this. It just troubles me how some jobs or roles are seen as 24/7 while others can be left behind when work is over. It’s not even the highest paid people who can just shed their professions at will. Some onlookers use these roles as a weapon when they don’t like what you are doing. (Heaven forbid you’re a teacher and post something with spelling errors!)

In the end, we are all just human, with likes and dislikes, flaws and foibles and lives outside of our work. Just a few early morning thoughts.

celebrations, fitness and nutrition

The Experience

Not too long ago I wrote about my upcoming CrossFit competition and my lack of preparedness. Today is the follow up which will summarize the experience because that’s what I decided it was. An experience that I will cherish for many years to come.

Let’s start with being fortunate. I am fortunate that at just shy of 50 I can compete at a high level and put myself out there in front of many. I am also happy that I get to share that experience with not only my friends but my youngest daughter. That in itself makes the experience more powerful and memorable. We did the same moves. We struggled together. We cheered together. We were a team although not on a team together. Just a day with my mini. 

Although this isn’t our first time competing together, it is always an adventure. New location. New moves. New competitors. New everything. I get to see her work through fears. I get to see her reach new heights. Sometimes I even see her coaching others who could be older than her. It’s a fun sight to see. I can truly say she grows with each event.

The day didn’t always go as planned. I started out workout one with strength but ripped my hands pretty good about 4 minutes into the 10-minute workout. I’m never good at working on the bar with my grip but when my hands ripped everything moved in slow motion except the pain. That was front and center. The suffering was over quick enough but how would the rest of the day go since I needed my hands. Luckily I pushed through. Of course I was the only one who ripped. Just my luck.

The day was long but so many giggles and milestones. My partner and I killed our box over and snatch workout. It’s the one I’d say we were most prepared for. This little bit of success helped us push through the afternoon. This workout was also the one my daughter and her partner did amazing at. Maybe even the fastest time of the day. Two little teens moving like they had fire on their feet. It was so exciting to witness. Team bonding. Team unity. True partnership. I was right there front and center to experience all of it.

Lunch break was fun, too. Chairs in the parking lot. Food trucks. Snacks galore. Chats with friends. Wardrobe changes. Selfie time for many. Just good clean fun. About this time a few non-participants showed up to cheer everyone on. That was just very cool. People took a long drive on a Saturday to cheer on friends and gym pals. This was amazing but this is CrossFit. Community. Like minded people coming together to unite around fitness. I will remember this because it was as a connection of people that went beyond the walls of a home base or gym.

The next workout was harsh. 12 minutes of repetitive moves requiring teamwork, communication and true grit. No real rest time. Pure adrenaline pumping in the body. Fatigue like you didn’t think was possible. You glance at the clock. It’s five minutes into 12 minutes. Will the workout ever end? Can I continue? So much runs through your mind. Are you contributing equal work as a partner? Is this a test? I survived my 12 minutes that felt like they would never end, but now it’s my daughter’s turn. I led by example. I gave hints for success. Will she listen? I mean she is a bullheaded teen. Will her age and inexperience hinder her? The day after post online noted below shows the confirmation of others thinking that 12 minutes was brutal!

The clock began. The battle with self ensued. Her partner was showing signs of weakness early on. She saw it. She didn’t want to accommodate her needs but she had no choice. Both were competing. They battled hard. They leaned on each other when they wanted to scream at each other. What a sight to see. In the end they persevered. It was such a sight to see. The after math was not so fun. The fatigue and anger showed their nasty side. This is part of the process.

The competition was nearing an end. A five minute workout remained. A simple one but so hard at the end of the day after all the athletes had endured. The power went out. The struggle with self continued on many levels for many athletes. You can’t quit now. The roar of the crowd gets you over the finish line. We did it. We came. We battled. We conquered ourselves. We left a little stronger. We gained a little respect for others. We enjoyed the experience from a-z.

This is CrossFit. Many say why do you do it? I do it for the fitness first and foremost. I do it for the friendships and community. I do it for the experiences. Competing takes all of that to a whole different level. It teaches you how to adapt. How to overcome. How to face adversity. How to smile. How to push through. These lessons crossover in life daily.

Our collective group of athletes hit the jackpot today. We all medaled. Not because of a low turnout but because we worked hard and did the best we could that day. There was a soon to be married couple in the mix. The doctor and the mid-twenties guy. Two sets of aged athletes in the masters category. Two teens. A wife and young adult combo. Such a diverse group.

This was a great experience. One to be shared. It is my hope that somebody reading this feels inspired to to try something new. Maybe it’s a new fitness routine. Maybe it’s just stepping outside their comfort zone to see what life can offer.

Enjoy today. I know I will. For tomorrow I will be sore. A sore like no other.

author moments

Content

Writing is interesting. Sometimes I write in my journal. Sometimes I write on sticky notes. Sometimes it’s thoughts and ideas in my iPhone notepad. Often times I write in cards. Many times I write on my hand as a reminder. Then of course there is this blog. It’s all content of sorts. What is contained in the written document. But since I like words, I am ever so content with writing and the process involved in each step.

Many different forms of writing or typing. Many different moods or mindsets are involved when writing. Many different people, places and topic spur my interest to write. Some writings are for my eyes only. Some writings I share with my writing partner. Some just sit for future use. Some get published on this blog. Some are seeds planted for future books. As a story teller it’s important to share. The share part of writing is where it gets real.

When you are young you turn in your best writings for grades. Teacher marks it up for punctuation, grammar, and the key components such as a start, middle and end. Sometimes that feedback is received well, others not so much. It’s a learning process. As we age the task of writings are usually more defined. The polishing process takes place. Some go from good to great while others just get by.

As adults we write. We write notes to school for our kids. We write to do lists. We write emails. We write business letters or proposals. We might even be the one guiding younger writers in some way through teachings. The point is to write. Don’t lose sight of writing. It’s therapeutic in ways but it’s also communication.

Some people struggle to verbally express themselves. Maybe they lack courage or confidence for a face to face discussion. Taking pen to paper allows for drafting, revisions, thoughts, and think again scenarios. Words are powerful. Writing is documenting that power. I enjoy the reflection point of writing especially within this blog as well.

A time stamp. An evolution of where I was. What I was doing. Who was along for the journey. Who wasn’t. Many details. It also shows highs, lows, and everything in between in life. A brutally honest portayer from my line of sight. Feelings, emotions, celebrations, struggles, loss and so much more.

I would have never thought in my teens that I would enjoy writing the way I do now. Maybe it was a plan to write a book hatched years ago on a whim. Maybe it was a crazy pal who sparked the word passion in me. Maybe it was just what was meant to be.

For now I am here doing me. Writing away. Enjoying the time I spend to share my words with others. One day I may be a New York Times best seller or not. It doesn’t matter to me. That’s not my goal. My goal is to write. Whether I type or use pen to paper, I’m choosing to write for others.

A passion. A purpose. Unique to me. No teacher or professional can tell it’s good or bad. It’s mine, all mine. My artistry. My story. My evolution. My ink. My style. And boy does that style bend, flex, pivot, shift and rewind often. Never the same. Never dull. Always progressive. I’m documenting how one lives life to the fullest or the fullest in my eyes.

My content makes me content. Does that sink in with you? At 3am when I’m sleepless. At 3pm when I need a break from the daily hustle: freedom to write the content. Personal choice to post the content. 100 percent chance of being content with me and my writings.

Just a rant worth sharing on this chilly 5 am morning. As a fun tidbit to readers, this is a post I will future date. Sometime ahead. I’ll glance at it again to see if I have any additions or deletions. I may opt to postpone again if the timing doesn’t seem right. Nonetheless I will revisit this rant or story of mine and reflect on where my mind was when I was in this writing space. Just sharing some of the behind the scenes process that many would never think about.

Since you were thinking just now. How about asking yourself if you would be able to log the world and share you soul with a stranger? 

Enjoy your day.