friendship, health

Pampered A-Z

The long awaited getaway weekend had arrived. Schedule conflicts hit hard as the time of departure hit. It took some finagling to get all to work out but that was not without added stress.

The take off was planned for early morning with a distance to drive. All attendees were to meet at the destination vs the previous plan of arriving the night before. This special time with friends was a long weekend planned for my birthday. Lots of unknown surprises and adventures were on the agenda. The list was long but there was a PJs party and sleepover, of course. Plenty of sweets to eat for all. Many giggles with the girls took away any of the pre-travel stresses.

One planned event I knew about was a spa day. However, I knew nothing of the venue nor did I really remember what treats were in store for me at the spa. The check in was detailed. A locker was assigned as well as a fancy robe. The cell phone was tucked away for me to adhere to the cell-phone-free zone. Off we went to a waiting room which was more like a grand foyer with a fresh wood-burning fireplace.

The waiting room ended up being a common area or meeting place for us to exchange stories and socialize in between services. At this point I had no idea how much time I would spend here but it was already amazing at this point. This common area had a snack bar with nuts and water and little refreshers which was a nice treat but the log cabin feel of a living room with the fresh fire added to the ambiance. The lounger chairs were placed on the outer edge of the room for reading: the inner area was a plush leather couch and recliners assembled with care for a little closer seating to chit chat. There were so many ladies in and out.

Moms and adult daughters. Girl groups like ours. It was hard to guess the average age or if there were any patterns of ages. While I might have silently people watched or observed my surroundings on my first visit to the common space,  I didn’t care after my first moment of zen. I had entered a whole new state of ooey gooey relaxation.

I had a massage first. 85 minutes of aroma therapy, oils, hot stones and a medium level touch. It was just delightful. Head to toe relaxation. After a huddle up in the common area one pal headed to sauna. Another to steam room and shower. Two of us opted for the salt cave encounter. This was a first but a one and done. A novelty experience but one I don’t feel I would ever do again. 

Back to the meeting place. This time we shuffled around the corner to a semi-private area for a mini lunch and mimosas. Oh, the treats hit the spot. Grapes for refreshment. Berries to add to the mimosas. Meats and cheeses for protein. A few crackers for crunch and orange slices for some sweet hydration. Some chocolate covered nuts and strawberries, however those were not on my tasting list this time. Each table set up was slightly different in theme making such a cute accent for those gathered for these snack sessions.

Next was the facial. Cute little coverup was worn to allow your arms and shoulders to be free. For yet another massage of sorts. The head. The neck. The face. The shoulders. The arms. The hands. Hydrating massages built into the facial process was beyond amazing, the glow after the service was remarkable. Such a rejuvenating experience.

For this spa had rooms upon rooms. Long hallways. An upstairs and a downstairs. Lots of nooks and crannies. I had never been to such an interesting spa. Many had brought their favorite books for reading in between sessions while others were in small groups chatting away.

I will be back for sure. Another interesting tidbit was there were more males than I expected receiving service however they had their own section for gathering. Oh how I wished to be a fly on the wall in the women-free zone to see their snacks and relaxation stations, now I’m so curious. Maybe I will have to make a phone call to inquire about the difference.

Today was a great time with friends but the most pampering I have ever had. Not sure if it was the time, the kinship, the services or the combination but I will cherish the experience. I chose to write about this day for many reasons.

One day I may want to reflect on this day with valued friends.

One day I may not be fortunate enough to receive these kind of services this I would want the detailed memories to relive the moment in my mind.

One day I will want my daughter to read my recap for her to understand how she should value self-care.

And for today, anyone reading along who may not ever experience this bliss, I want to share my experience virtually. Not for a bragging type experience rather for an experience to daydream about what can be someday.

Dreaming big is an important part of my life. I live for new experiences and opportunities. If I never had things to look forward to I would remain stagnant. My hope for readers is to reach for those days ahead that seem impossible for I know one can always reach beyond to get what they are willing to work hard or push for.

mental health

Chad, Again

Last week was Veteran’s Day. It’s become a recent tradition for some in the CrossFit and fitness communities to complete the hero workout Chad. I have done this one once before, right as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting. That seems like a decade ago in so many ways…work, family, fitness, friendship, life in general.

I skipped it last year but this year it pulled on me over and over again. I finally chimed in to my fitness group to see if anyone wanted to complete it the weekend after Veteran’s Day. I can’t decide if I was surprised or not that some of my friends said yes. In many ways this workout feels like a “one and done” but my friends are also crazy like that. We couldn’t all be there, but we had some cheering for us in spirit.

I was glad I had written about my first experience doing this workout in detail. I went back and reread my thoughts before I started. I remembered it being grueling. I remembered rushing to try to get to work (on my couch). Much of the rest I had just let go of.

This time was different, doing at a gym. This time was different, doing it with a vest…a little lighter than last time, but a weight I would not take off (no matter how much I wanted a break!)

This time was different, though, since I had friends to do it with.

Friends made the experience a bit less challenging. Was it still long and tedious? Absolutely. In fact, it may have taken me 45 minutes longer this time around. Some of that I attribute to a lower level of fitness. But some is just because we chatted between the rounds. I lost count a bunch of times. But I kept going. We were going to finish this.

Friends make hard things a little easier. This was the main lesson I learned this time around. Hard things don’t stop being hard. But the hard path isn’t as lonely. It makes me think about VFWs and other social organizations. Sometimes we need a place where we are truly and deeply understood.

Life has been challenging, lifey, whatever you want to call it lately. Things feel heavy. In some ways, time is moving very slowly. I’m not at all comparing my challenges to veterans, but I knew I had to complete this workout for myself as well. Getting something done is hard these days for me. My mental soundtrack has been less positive.

These and other friends inspire me to just keep going. Keep showing up. Keep moving. Every day won’t feel great or be the best. Some of the challenges will seem unending. But if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, I will eventually reach the goals I have. Days will get brighter. Get up, show up, never give up.

3Splitz Farm

A Little Sunshine

This cute little mason jar full of freshly picked flowers has so much meaning. It’s fresh from the farm to my table.

Planted, sprouted, trimmed and packages to-go by my farmily at 3Splitzfarm. A new farm that is sprouting in many ways.

The garden. The livestock. The visitors, the flowers. All designed and labored by the farm family. So much pride. So much love goes into each delivery.

As days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months and months turn into years. Our farm story is evolving. Some years our corn will be plentiful. Other years another crop may struggle. We never know what nature holds for our little farm.

What we do know is we have dreams. We don’t mind hard work. We live to see the fruits of our labor in whichever form it produces. We love sharing our story with the world as well.

From how to start to how to maintain to how to survive all that gets thrown your way. We document it all to share virtually as well as in books. A benefit of 2 Chicks also being 2 farm girls.

Sometimes we have a pen in hand. Other times it’s a tractor or pruning tool. You never know what adventures we shall share with you.

From our farm to you. Enjoy this virtual flower arrangement. We will be soon selling flower subscriptions and delivering special treats through your community to make others smile.

challenges

The Solo Comp

Ah I signed up for a solo CrossFit comp. Masters age group. Local venue, national footprint. Just wanted something to do before the end of the year. I wanted to say I squeezed in another event to end the year with a bang instead of boredom.

Why? Because I guess I had nothing better to do. I guess I’m a bit neurotic. I guess I’m a bit curious. The list goes on. I guess I hang with some crazy friends who like to do weird things like me. 

I do a little practice session on event one. It was just 6 minutes but I wanted to die at about 4 minutes but I somehow pushed through with the help of my workout buddy Kim. I’m still here to write about the escapade so it wasn’t that bad. The event is above if you want to test the workouts yourself and see how you fare.

We opted to try another comp trial wod the next week. It was equality shitty. This time it was 9 minutes and another lung burner and sweat fest. I finished. I recovered but ugh it wasn’t pretty. Not feeling successful after two events. The photo below shows my pal after her efforts. She wanted to kill me for pushing her in the moment but she got over it quick. I think.

Fast forward a couple weeks and I practice wod 3 with another friend. This one was a whopping 7 minutes long and I took yet another beating. Now the reality is I have to do all three workouts in one day. Limited rest. Competitive environment and just me, myself and I to rely upon to get it done. Just me cooling off outside in the cold using the cement to cool down my body temp rapidly. Just 7 minutes to wipe me out. And I thought a masters competition would be easy!

Part of my issue could be that most of the events require body weight movements, some of which I do but not fast. I’m a thick fit type of body which equates to moving a lot of body weight in comparison to others that might be a bit more agile. Another could be I’m just not in the top shape I was a year ago. This happens.

I will do all events regardless because that’s what I signed up for. The measuring stick. I can’t always win and I may lose big. It’s okay. Part of the process is how to learn from the opportunity. 

How to show up.

How to rely on myself.

How to push forward when times are tough.

How to set an example for anyone watching.

How to celebrate my willingness to try.

How to celebrate me in general.

In life I rely on myself. I have others whom I can lean on from time to time but when push comes to shove it’s me. Competing on any level allows me to reignite the fire within, to keep on trucking day to day to get through whatever life hurdles I have to face.        

Less than 3 weeks until the event. Lots of hard work in my sights to prepare myself. Wish me luck. I probably need a little for this comp.

perspective

Stripping the Fun Stuff Away

The return to “normal” has begun.  Gyms, restaurants, hair salons, sports leagues, bowling alleys, summer camps and a host of other businesses have gotten the green light to open their doors. Yay! (right?)

Of course, nothing is really normal and the “new normal” has already lost it’s luster (if it ever had any). Opening business doors often comes along with an eye-popping list of new restrictions.

Both the chicks have recently given their views on restaurant dining.

Like restaurants, for many businesses, industries, and institutions, it’s still a strange time. We are all figuring it out on the fly, customers included.  I’ve noticed that in some cases, we are stuck trying to do the hard parts but the fun parts are what we miss now.  Here are a few examples:

Gyms are starting to reopen.  But, I never really stopped working out.  I’m still exercising in my basement or on the pavement most mornings due to financial and work constraints. Some lifting, some cardio, some basic bodyweight movement, Heroes on Mondays. I get my exercise in one way or another.

Is it the same?  Yes and no.  Yes, I get my movement in.  But some of the most enjoyable parts of the gym experience are gone.  I don’t see friends and like-minded people.  I don’t get coaching.  I don’t get to use all the great equipment. I don’t get the occasional coffee and breakfast after with friends. Sure, I don’t miss certain things about the gym, but some of the parts that made it fun and special (and the hard parts less hard) can’t be replicated in my home.

My work is a similar situation.  I am a librarian that teaches in an elementary school.  We left school for a long weekend in mid-March, not knowing that students and most teachers wouldn’t return this year.  Instead, we’ve been teaching and learning online for almost 9 weeks.

Are we getting the job done?  Yes and no.  Yes, there are lessons and many teachers working extremely hard to connect with students and families.  Yes, there is learning happening.  But, some of the parts that make school fun and meaningful are stripped away.  Field day. End-of-year culminations of work and celebrations.  Social time at lunch and recess on the playground. Working shoulder-to-shoulder to finish a puzzle or create something together. For me, it’s just walking through the library with a student and helping them find a great book.

Or reading a funny or suspenseful picture book to a live Kindergarten audience, laughing and responding together in that moment. Nothing replaces those. And those are some of the things that make school worth going to for many kids (not to mention food, etc.)  Instead, online school often seems like a lot more of the work and a lot less of the fun stuff that makes school special. (And yes, this is about the teachers, too.  I miss the energy of my students! Computer screens, while helpful, don’t cut it for connection!)

On the flip side, there are also students and families who aren’t built for distance learning.  Some have limited or no access to technology. Some need the structure and surroundings and encouragement of others working.  Some need the social benefits.  Some need the food and care that come along with being at school.  Some parents are working from home while also trying to manage multiple children learning online.  It is all extremely stressful.  School isn’t working for many, and it is definitely not the same even for those getting by.

Then, there are the fun things that are just not happening anymore at all.  Most notably for me are travel plans for myself and my family, and races I was training for.  Pleasure travel by anything other than car seems risky (and if you take a road trip, where do you stay overnight?)

I was sad that the triathlon I was training for got canceled.  They can’t guarantee safety and I am sure liability is also a big part of that decision.  Would I have wanted to participate in some sort of sanitized race?  I had mixed feelings about the virtual 10K I ran recently. Although it wasn’t terrible since I was able to do it with friends, I missed the trip to Nashville, the mass of runners, all the spectators and the thrill of race day. It just wasn’t the same. I may still do a virtual version of the triathlon at some point since I am already training.  But, some things just can’t be replaced.  You can’t take away some of the most fun and challenging parts and expect a similar experience. Again, some of the most fun stuff of life is stripped away.  And it is hard not to be bogged down in the frustration and sadness of it all.

You can’t recreate the Mona Lisa with a Magic Marker. It just isn’t the same.  And will it ever be the same?  What do I expect? I don’t know. I know many people are trying their best.  I know many people disagree about how all of this is being carried out.  Frankly, between dealing with that personal and political drama and the abundance of the day-to-day changes, I am exhausted at times. The fun stuff buoys me along and there is so much less of that.  Nonetheless, I want to try to find the celebration in the irritation.  Today, I realized I would have never bought my road bike if I hadn’t set the triathlon as a goal.  My bike has been a huge part of my sanity through the stay-at-home orders. So there is a bit of sunshine.

It’s hard not to wonder when things will get back to some kind of regularity.  What will things look like on the other end? When can we plan a race, some pleasure travel?  When will I be able to read to kids again?  When is the finish line of this mess?  I can budget my energy if I have a finish line in sight.  But now we are in the long middle miles when it’s hard to stay energized and forward moving.

I think it’s ok to pout as long as you don’t wallow in it.  Acknowledge the loss then move on.  It might be easier if we knew the story had a happy ending.  I can deal with suspense as long as it gets resolved.  I have to believe that day will come.  Maybe not quite happily ever after, and maybe this is a heck of a long chapter, but it will be resolved.