Archive for December, 2010

Failed resolve

My resolve failed me. I skipped CrossFit yesterday to bake cookies. Luckily, I accidently bought vanilla extract instead of vanilla rendering the frosting almost inedible. Between that and the fritti episode on Christmas Eve, maybe its a sign.DSC01208Date night was on yesterday. In the afternoon Todd played XBox while I made cookies. Then we went for a much needed massage. Our plan was to have Mexican food at Si Senor for dinner but it was closed so we ate at Casa Allegre instead. Not the same but good enough. DSC01177WIth all the snow it was a great night to go home and bundle up. We went straight to the basement to play XBox. We tried for an hour to beat a special ops mission on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 called Big Brother. We kept getting all the way to the rooftop where the helicopter picks up the guy on the ground before he gets killed by a swarm of soldiers. Ugh! So frustrating. We ended the evening by watching Despicable Me. What a great day. We spent the entire day in our sweats. Even at dinner. Hehe.

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The kid at the store

The other day I saw this kid at the grocery store standing in the checkout line with his mom. He had on baggy pants and a snowboarding jacket. He had the rim of his Oakley hat pulled over the top of his sunglasses. I have seen people do that outside to keep the snow out. But in the store? Seriously? I only glanced at him for a second but my first thought was… punk kid.

I saw him again today. His mom was holding his hand. He is blind.

…and that was my lesson today in humility.

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Christmas Day

Christmas morning Todd and I wake up early and turn on all of our Christmas lights. Breakfast is Cinnabon. (This year we split 1 and saved the other for later). Then we open the presents we put in each other’s stockings. The main things Todd got for me included a new Billabong hoodie, a sweet new hat, and he custom designed a new case for my iPod! I got him a new sweater but it fit weird so we still have to shop for him. I also got him a grill press and four nonstick egg rings because he loves to make bacon and eggs for breakfast. We got each other little stuff too. Like I bought him a chunk of marzipan shaped like a pig. In Cozumel our very Mexican scuba instructor told us the story of his sister who raised cows and ‘porks’. It still makes me giggle. Normally we also open our yearly Christmas ornament but after wrapping presents late Christmas Eve, Todd thought it might be nice to open it early this year. It was his year to find one and he did not disappoint. 

_DSC0071Next we headed over to his sister Nicole’s house for brunch and to watch Gus ride his new Jeep or ‘Gleep’ as he calls it. We unwrapped our presents to each other so it was Christmas all over again. Gus put on my Santa hat and declared himself to be Santa Claus. Santa brought me a teapot, pajamas, a gift certificate to World Market. Todd got a photography book by National Geographic, sweatpants, pajamas, and a gift certificate to Mike’s Camera towards printing and framing one of his photos. We gave the girls a basket of spices and treats from Savory Spice where we went shopping a few weeks ago, Nicole’s husband a beer-making kit that supposed to taste like Fat Tire. And his dad a new jacket for work. My favorite present was the one Nicole thought of for Todd’s parents. She had all of their old family video tapes put on DVDs. I can’t wait to see them._DSC0099Finally we went to my dad’s house for Christmas Round 3. Gayle’s whole family and my sister’s family came over which made us about 19. There was no room for all of our stockings to be hung by the chimney with care so they were hung on the staircase.The kids had a gift exchange and then it was time for dinner. Guess what we ate for Christmas dinner? The turkey I won at that Earn Your Turkey Challenge at MBS! It was delicious!!! After dinner the kids went off and played and the bigger kids opened each other’s gifts. My sister got us gift certificates to play paintball! Sweet! And my dad made a generous donation to the Ramirez Shopping Fund that was much appreciated.DSC01139The day is over but the season is still on. For one thing we have these gift certificates to still shop for. More importantly, though, between Christmas Eve and three rounds of Christmas Day, we have still only seen half the family we have in Colorado. We still haven’t seen the Fort Collins, the Grand Junction, or the Arvada crowds yet. But we will!

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Christmas Eve at Grandma’s

_DSC4889Christmas Eve at Grandma’s is one of my favorite days of the year. Every year I head to her house first thing in the morning to help her get ready. My main job is to make the fritti, little fried balls of dough dipped in honey. It is a long process that starts early in the morning with boiling potatoes and ends in the afternoon with dipping the fritti in honey. 

This year I made a mess more than I helped. First of all, we couldn’t find the fryer so I tried to make them on the stove. The oil was much too hot and never cooled off enough so they browned too fast and came out doughy instead of crispy on the outside. Then, I started to heat an inch of honey in a pot. Too busy chatting with my aunt to pay attention, the honey boiled over. All we could do was turn off the burner and watch it form a 1/2 inch black cake on the burner. It took an hour to get all the black scraped off her glass top stove. Failed mission. Still edible but not my best work.

While I was in the kitchen managing the disaster recovery effort, Todd was out running secret errands. I wondered what he could be up to at the very last minute. When he got back I found out he had taken my car to get it detailed! It looked so pretty! What a guy!

Usually we have a crowd of 20 or so but this year with just my dad and Gayle, Aunt Jeannie and Sue, my sister’s family, Todd and I, and Grandma, we were only 11. But the rest went as always. Dinner starts with Zoupe a la Zonde, a meatball soup in a clear broth with cheese and croutons. A pasta dish of some kind, spagetti, gnocchi, ravioli, etc. This year Aunt Jeannie made lasagna with home made noodles. Mmm. My sister Kim made the Christmas salad with spinach, avocado, nuts, and cranberries.

Just after dinner, Grandma’s friends and neighbors for more than fifty years, The Palmers, come to the door and sing Christmas carols. Mrs. Palmer and her husband had twelve children who all married and had children of their own. So there is usually quite a crowd. They come in and gather around the living room for coffee and cookies and sing a few carols before heading home. And finally we open just a few presents to get us all in the mood. Sigh… So many memories of Christmas Eve at Grandma’s house._DSC4897

Missed you, Mom!

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Ugly Christmas Sweaters Everywhere

I need to either make or buy an ugly Christmas sweater for next year. I had heard of ugly Christmas sweater parties before but the idea seems to have exploded this year. Even our gym had an Ugly Christmas Sweater workout yesterday. The gym owners, Patrick and Janelle had the right idea with their sleeveless sweater vests.

Even their dog Gracie worked out in an ugly sweater:

Sam lost a bet at the girl’s Christmas party so her outfit for the workout had already been chosen for her. A lovely red Christmas bra.

Not many people chose to actually workout in a sweater though. One guy in our class sucked it up and put on a full sleeve hideous pink sweater for the whole workout. Good for him! We are supposed to be tough! None of this ‘oh, but i might get too hot’ stuff.  Next year, I am totally in.

Anyway, the workout we did was this:

The 12 Days of Christmas:

12 Rounds For Time executed just like the song:
1 Handstand Push Up
2 KB Snatch – 53lbs(boys)/35lbs(girls)
3 Wall Balls – 20lbs/14/lbs at 12 foot target
4 Box Jumps – 32”/24”
5 Thrusters – 75lbs
6 Air Squats
7 Abmat Sit ups
8 Ball Slams – 40lbs/30lbs
9 Double Unders
10 Pull ups
11 Squat Cleans – 115lbs/75lbs
12 Burpee wall jumps

Explanation: The first round is just 1 handstand push up. The second round is 2 KB snatches and 1 handstand push up. The third round is 3 wall balls… and so on. Just like the song.

Very fun workout but I just now realized I was supposed to have used the 14# wall ball and only used the 10#. SHOOT! I HATE when that happens. All that work only to find out that I short changed myself. Grrr. Moral of the story: Pay attention.

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Weightlifting for flexibility?

overheadsquatWith all the holiday fun I am still making time for CrossFit. On Tuesday I found my 1 rep max on overhead squat, a lift I really wanted to improve on. Last time I did it was in April. I tried 85 pounds and fell flat on my butt. Tuesday I did 105# without too much difficulty. Yes! It wasn’t strength that made me fall before. It was flexibility and balance. When I get in a squat position with no weight, my heels on the ground, and my back totally straight, I have to fight not to fall over backwards. Putting my arms straight over my head makes it worse. I always used to think that people who lifted weights just wanted bigger muscles or to be better at sports. When someone mentioned wanting better flexibility or balance lifting weights was never the first thing that came to mind. I usually thought of yoga. But overhead squats require an incredible amount of balance and flexibility in your arms, legs, hips, and ankles. I bet people who are really good at overhead squat have no problems doing downward facing dog. I still can’t do it with my heels flat on the ground or my back all the way straight. But some day.downward-facing-dog

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The Holidays

I love the holidays. So busy, so fun, still so relaxing. Saturday we saw the Christmas lights at the zoo. Todd’s nephew Gus and his new friend Celeste rode around in a Radio Flyer. Gus sang the first line of Jingle Bells over and over until strangers started to join in.

Sunday I went shopping and had lunch at BJ’s on Pearl Street with Todd’s sister, mom, and aunt. Then last night we took my cousin Andrea to see Tron in 3D. Great special effects! Loved those lightcycles!


On the way home we pulled up to the gate of a house on Baseline Road about a mile from where I live. It belongs to the owner of a tree farm.

huge_house_by_usYou would have to see it in person. It must have taken a huge team to get all those lights on all those huge trees and that’s just the quarter mile driveway. You can’t drive back to the house but you can catch glimpses of it from the road and it must be spectacular.

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Date Night

blueman My husband and I decided a month or two ago to make every Thursday night a date night. We alternate who makes the plans. Todd was the genius behind racing those go karts. Last night was my turn. First we went to dinner at Tag in downtown Denver. We ordered something called Omakase which apparently means chef’s choice. It was like Iron Chef. Four different chefs made up a dish and then we judged which was the best based on presentation, taste, and creativity. They invited us into the kitchen to meet the head chef (and owner) and announce the winner. The food was AWESOME. Afterward I took Todd to see Blue Man Group. What a riot! My favorite part is when they stop what they are doing to harass the people who arrive late. Hahaha. I think maybe it brings back memories of a class I had in college in an auditorium called Math 100 which seats hundreds of students. If you weren’t in your seat when the professor was ready to go he would kick you out in front of everybody. It wasn’t so funny then but it is now. Hehehe.

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The Burden of 2 Pounds

man-lifting-heavy-box The other day we had a workout that included 100 kipping pull ups, 100 push ups, and 200 air squats. It got me thinking. Let’s say over the holiday months I gain 2 pounds of unwanted fat. During 100 pull ups means I would lift an extra 200 pounds. In a regular push up you lift very roughly 65% of your body weight. So for 100 push ups at 2 pounds that is another 130 pounds. Air squats. I read that you can figure out how much you lift in an air squat by putting your scale on a chair and sitting on it with your feet on the ground. (Your full body weight would only be lifted if you jumped off the ground). For me that worked out to be about 85%. So 85% of 2 pounds lifted 200 times is 340 more pounds.

That means a gain of just 2 pounds of fat would be an extra 330# to lift with my arms and 340# to lift with my legs for a total of 670# extra in a 20 minute workout! That’s 75# more than my CrossFit Total! (1 rep max on squat, press, and deadlift). Imagine how an extra 5 or 10 or 20 would translate! In workouts, in sports, even just in daily life. Hours and hours of walking around, getting in and out of chairs, going up and down the stairs. Your feet and your back taking the extra beating day in and day out from carrying extra weight around that serves no purpose other than maybe to help you float.

Just something to think about when I am reaching for those cookies at Christmas.

Disclaimer: This is about gaining extra unnecessary fat above a healthy body fat percentage not about trying to cut down body fat. The amount “necessary” is a whole separate subject up for debate.

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What Are My Long Term Goals?

your_goalThe other day a guy at CrossFit mentioned he had come across my website and wanted to make a suggestion. He said ‘you seem to make short term goals and conquer them and that is great but maybe you should set some long term goals too’. Of course, my immediate response was ‘I have set long term goals. They are in there  somewhere in there.’ But are they? To tell you the truth after a year of this thing I can’t even remember. I added some, removed some, and changed them so many times that I am not sure what they are anymore. Probably not a good thing. I am accomplishing a lot but to what end?  I am thinking it is the time of year where I need to go back and read my archives and re-evaluate what I am doing to make sure I am still on the right track. I am also thinking this site needs an update and maybe a little bit of reorganizing so both the long term and short term goals are easy to get back to. Any suggestions are welcome.

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