A few thoughts on list-making. When I read, I make lists. When I walk in the woods, I make lists. I think best in lists. God forbid I find myself without a pen, because I’ll get downright cranky. Perhaps that’s why I dislike long showers. I fear that I’ll forget those small flashes of thought that tend to flicker through my head as my eyes are shut and the water rushes down my face.

And then there is the joy of choosing what to write your list on. I have lists on my computer, on a whiteboard by the side of my bed, but physical tactile lists are undeniably the best. My uncle, who I should note has particularly fine taste, has his own monogrammed mini note pads that fit in his wallet and he carries around at all times. I have notebooks big and small. My favorite, usually, is my smallest moleskine, which has a pocket to keep the lists that didn’t make it in the book and were scribbled on the back of an old envelope, receipt, or library slip.

There is little I like better than writing my lists, except perhaps, reading other people’s lists. I have much to thank my friend Kassie for over the years, but I owe her the biggest debt of gratitude for introducing me to Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings, filled with the lists of creative people throughout history. If you’d like to procrastinate, click on that link.

This was the banana that I ate directly following my morning workout. I headed to CrossFit with trepidation. We’d be working on three things that I’m not good at: pull-ups, hang squat snatches, and toes to bar. One of my biggest challenges with CrossFit has been keeping a positive attitude when I’m not good at something. When you’ve lived your life competing with  over-achievers, accepting that you are not good at something takes some effort.

But I’ve surprised myself at how quickly I’ve found joy from my progress at the gym, tackling new challenges that seem insurmountable. Each day I learn something new, I become both physically and mentally stronger, and this keeps me coming back week after week. These days I’ve been coming and going with a smile on my face.

Tuesday WOD 9/25/12


A.  Back Squat – 6 Sets of 4 @ 80% of your 1 rep max, rest 2:30 between sets (20 min. cap total)

B.  Strict Weighted Pull-up – 8 minutes to a heavy set of 3 reps (if you can’t do them, practice pull-ups and kipping for your TTB)

WOD (workout of the day):  “Black Bart”

AMRAP 8 Ladder of 2,4,6,8, etc.

Hang Squat Snatch 95/65

Toe To Bar

This was not an easy day for me. My two rep max is 95, and although I hadn’t found my one rep max, Coach E determined that I’d work with 80 pounds for my back squat. I’ve been working on keeping my heels down, sticking my butt out, and squatting down low. I felt good at the end of my sets, gaining confidence that I’m building up muscle. I definitely can go heavier.

And then came the pullups. Up until now I’ve been doing jump-ups standing on a 24 inch box to jump up over the bar. Today, we pulled out the green band. Three pullups no problem. (I surprised myself here). And then the blue band (less resistance) – three more down (huh…) . The red? Okay, so I got one. But now I know that I can do this.

After our strength we had our WOD. My technique on my lifts could use some work, so I ended up dropping the weight down to 35#. Because I have to learn how to hang properly on the rig, I ended up with knee raises instead of toes to bar. Toes to bar is infinitely more difficult than when I was six and could do it easily. I think I need more time on the playground. Result? In eight minutes I got past the 8’s and 3 lifts in.

(Black Bart, for the record, is one of my favorite outlaws. He was a poet, and would leave verses at crime scenes!)

“I’ve labored long and hard for bread,
For honor, and for riches,
But on my corns too long you’ve tread,
You fine-haired sons of bitches.”

When I came home, I made myself this superbly good bowl of leftover beef stew. Having eaten all the meat off our marrow bones the night before, I cooked up some crumbled fresh sausage from the butcher shop and then heated up the leftover carrots and braise. I topped it all with some fresh parsley and lemon zest, and it was positively the best thing I’ve eaten in weeks. Recipe coming in the next day or so as soon as Yom Kippur is over and I can post my notes without this rumbling hunger. {Edited: recipe here!}

In the afternoon, I was craving something sweet, but decided that I’d make myself a treat for the evening – Chai Chia Pudding. I pulled out my favorite Masala Chai from Samovar, heated up a cup of coconut milk on the stove, and steeped a tablespoon of tea in the milk as it warmed.

After about 5 minutes, I took the creamy tea-milk off the stove, and stirred in about a quarter cup of chia seeds. The seeds expand in the milk and make a gelatinous pudding. Typically I’d add a spoonful of honey to sweeten it, but I’ve been strict about no added sweeteners this month, and the warm spices are enough to satisfy me lately. I put it in the fridge to cool down for later.

In the early evening I took my walk before Devon came home from work, just as the sun was setting. Just as I was coming home, I stumbled upon the IKEA drawer set I used to own (and loved) standing in someone’s front yard. I rushed home to get my car, drove over, and spent 15 minutes attempting to lift the thing by myself (not a problem now!), until I finally had to give up because there was no way it was going to fit in my tiny Volvo.

I headed to the store, silently praying it’d be there when Devon got back with the Tucson. It was not. You can’t win them all.

I did however win with dinner. I picked up a single packet of pre-cooked organic “love beets” at the store. Because I’m the only one around here who eats beets, this is the perfect convenience. I chopped my beets up and dressed them with cumin, coriander, salt and vinegar. I then set about cooking some grass fed beef with peppers and a tomato. Finally, I chopped up an avocado, heated up some spinach, and made myself this delightfully colorful plate:

Devon got his with refried beans, and we sat together and ate happily. For dessert, I ate my chia pudding, and we watched Bourdain’s Sydney episode before falling asleep way too early to admit.