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hostile environments

A few weeks ago I attended a training for work called HEAT. Hostile Environment Awareness Training. There were lots of rumors flying around about what to expect, but I lovingly referred to it for the months preceding as "kidnapping training." This is what my family and friends have come to call it. 20121005-103159.jpg

And we definitely got kidnapped, along with a few other things that you might encounter in dangerous places. Like suicide bombers and carjackers and stuff. No big deal.

I also learned about sucking chest wounds and how you shouldn't leave a tourniquet on for more than a couple of hours, or someone might lose their leg. And if you should happen to be injured in the field, dear friend, I can fireman carry you out of that hot mess. Even if you weigh 250 pounds. Oh yes I can.

Basically, they prepared us for any and every possible horrible scenario that we could experience in the field. Which was CRAZY. I'm not supposed to reveal the details (so that they will be fun and new and surprising for my colleagues that haven't taken the course yet), but it was an intense week.

And I have had the CRAZIEST dreams following. Like so:

-I was kidnapped by my husband's boss (who is a really nice guy). I might have even been shot at one point? Good thing he was a nice kidnapper. I guess. -I was with my whole family in a kind of riot/political demonstration scenario and they all somehow got stuffed into a dryer without me...? And survived? -I went to a place that called itself the waffle factory, where you put a bit of dough or something in the front of a giant assembly line and out pops waffles. They also sold live chickens from a wooden box, which they would slaughter on the spot for you. This whole waffle and chicken place was out in the boonies, and was run by the same hillbillies who were the actors in my real-life HEAT training. They invited me to try the magic giant waffle machine, and then gave me a little room to sleep in. I sniffed that something was up, so I started to walk back to my car, and noticed that they were sprinkling (sprinkling?) little bits of dynamite in a trail from my room to my car. So I booked it to my car and made my escape, while they were brandishing guns at me. I was pretty proud of myself for applying my HEAT training in my dream. Then I woke up and it was 5:30am and I told the whole thing to my half awake and confused husband.

WHAT.

And just for the record, I didn't get hurt during training, except for bruises on my knees from the times we'd yell "GRENADE!" as a team and dive for cover. And also I had to pee really bad during the hostage training, because anytime we'd try to talk to the terrorists, they'd yell at us. So there was no hope of going to the bathroom. Luckily, the UN troops rescued us in time for a potty break.

At the end of the week, we had a crawfish broil (because we were in Florida, so what else would we eat?), to which the actors who had kidnapped us were invited. That was funny. Like, "You look so different and nice without fake blood on you!"

Anyway, I hope I never have to use any of these skills in real life. The closest I've come is watching movies — when people try to hide behind trees for cover, that's just silly. The tree has to be thicker than the length of your fingertips to your elbow to be viable cover. Otherwise, you're toast. And I tell them so in the movies when they try to do that. Silly movies.

Oh, it was lovely to come home to my husband. We've been enjoying the first little bits of fall that have snuck up rather quickly in Seattle in the last week - a sunset run in Magnolia, pumpkin spice lattes, our favorite hike, movies and snuggling. And now we're off for a weekend of huge breakfasts and electric blankets and walks in the park and senior pictures (for Brother Bear) with Dave's family. Mmm good.

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ps: have you ever heard of Stockholm Syndrome? Craziest thing! We also learned about this during HEAT. So fascinating.

ON THE ROAD

travel a lot for my job, and I've been blessed to see some of the most beautiful and fascinating places in the world. But the world is so BIG! There's so much to see! So to answer that age-old question, where would you go if you could go anywhere in the world? Here are the places I've been pondering lately...

Greece Yellowstone Vancouver Israel/Palestine Arches National Park San Diego Italy (again) Austria (again) Isle of Skye, Scotland Norway (in the summer, please) Darjeeling

And speaking of traveling, here's a few snaps from Maine a handful of weeks ago with my Lovah and family.

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i realize i haven't given birth yet, but...

crossfit. oh crossfit. sometimes people use the phrase "blood, sweat, and tears" for dramatic hyperbole about something they have done or experienced. like wrapping christmas presents.

or finishing their history final.

or... fill in the blank.

well, i can tell you that i have LITERALLY bled sweated (like a BEAST) and now cried

because of crossfit.

my dearest darling husband first introduced me to this insane sport, because he was a trainer for a few years. yes. he is my husband. he is a beast. he is taken. amen.

i never was much of a fitness buff, and honestly, my motivation usually came from wanting my body to look different. i initially approached crossfit the same way, because those people seriously look amazing. but since starting it a couple months ago, it's become something much different than that, and i've realized how broken my previous way of looking at exercise was. it should make me stronger and more capable, and whatever happens externally to my body is an extraneous side effect. it should never be the goal. i've found it's a lot more satisfying to set personal records for lifting or time than change your weight or waistline. those are nice, they're just not all that lifechanging (unless you're losing 100 pounds or something).

so back to blood, sweat, and tears.

blood and sweat are easy - after the first few classes, i already had callouses on my hands from the weight bar (soooo feminine, i know. wait. it gets better). then they started ripping off and bleeding, at which point i had to wrap my hands like a boxer to keep going. dave said weight gloves are for pansies, but i'm a girl, so i don't really give much heed to that point.

sweat, duh. never sweated more in my life. and dave still somehow thinks i'm cute in the middle of that. what?!?

and finally, yes, i literally cried the other day in a workout. not wept, just cried, just a little. i probably made a pretty pathetic face, too. i can't even remember what we did. something awful with 400m sprints, overhead lifts and squats (if you want to get technical, i think it was a snatch balance), and some other element like burpees. which i hate.

but i FINISHED it. and after i did, i lay on the floor panting, grit and sweat coating my whole body, surrounded by teammates in the same position.

and i felt like a champion.

flooded with endorphins and sweet relief, i finished something that halfway through, i really didn't believe i could complete. i had felt like quitting. but i finished.

i've had extra motivation lately from the olympics, and watching these incredible humans do unbelievable things. did you SEE those gymnasts? and the sprinters? golly gee whiz. dave is also ridiculous motivation, because not only is he the most encouraging person i know, but probably the strongest and most determined. his resolve and focus astound me. so anytime i'm in class with him, all i have to do is watch him and know that i can finish strong too.

the other night, i was the last in the class to finish our workout of the day (WOD), and was finishing my last 400m run. at the halfway mark, i turned the corner and saw dave standing far at the end, cheering me on. he ran the rest of the way with me, despite the fact that he had just completed a grueling workout of his own. i love him so very much.

it took a lot of cajoling from dave to get me to join him in this fitness exploit, but i finally jumped in, and i'm so glad i did. i've already noticed a difference - no more back pain, and little movements, little lifts, little feats of endurance are easier to me. it's changed my quality of life, and that makes me want to keep going.

there are all these maxims in crossfit culture (and it is very much a culture), and one that resonates with me is "every day better." it's not really about competing with the others in the class (because i'm tooooootally not there yet), but against yourself, and your own limits. i love that - it takes the pressure off and challenges me to healthy growth.

i wish i had pictures of our crossfit times, but we're too busy doing pullups and deadlifts and making prehistoric noises to be taking pictures. but i will someday.

so i leave you with this: we are leaving for vacation tonight, and i have a feeling i'll look something like this when we come back to our next crossfit class:

Habits

Attitudes of highly creative people, according to Darren Rowse: Curiosity. Seeing problems as interesting and acceptable. Confronting challenge. Optimism. Suspending judgement. Seeing hurdles as leading to improvements and solutions. Perseverance. Flexible imagination.

Do you ever read lists like this and find yourself thinking, "I can't identify with more than 2 of those"?

No? Just me? Okay good. Off to re-wire my brain now. But seriously.

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Some snaps

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So, here is our life for the past few weeks.

coffee at breakfast and tea at our favorite shop in Ballard (after watching Brave - best date night ever!)

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we took a kayaking adventure around Burrows Island and decided that we need to own a kayak one day.

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Dave broke in his new portable grill with the fam (super tasty!), and I went to grocery store and didn't notice the butt on this squash until Dave started giggling. We have a lot of potty humor around here.

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we took a bike ride on 4th of july with our friends (so beautiful!)

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we make really tasty breakfasts. srrlsy.

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we saw les mis (fantine! eponine! i love the tragic ones!)

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dave got me these beautiful flowers (hooray for 3 months of being married!)

all the hype is more than true. marriage is incredible.