Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

When snow falls, listen quietly

Just took Sasha for the most amazing nighttime snow walk.  It's night, but not dark, as the Christmas and street lights reflect off the unbroken blanket on the ground and cause each individual falling flake to shimmer briefly on its descent.  Even the unlit path through the woods is bright enough to navigate easily.  The silence is broken occasionally by the sound of a far off car sliding, but otherwise is absolute.  The kind of silent that grants imagination free rein to wander as it will.

This is Sasha's favourite weather and she was super excited to be out in it, although sadly I couldn't let her play as when she plays she barks and it's too late for that.  So we just walked and I worked very hard not to accidentally kick snow in her direction as that is, in fact, her absolute favourite game and the fastest way to have a very loud, very excited, hiking partner.  And in the stillness of the night that energy would carry far, but is unlikely to make us any friends.

The stunning houses along the lake are that much more impressive decorated for Christmas -- sometimes outdoor lights shining through a filter of white, sometimes a tree lit up in the window.  A cat peers out, seemingly questioning our sanity.  He's not wrong, but the sane miss so many wonderful adventures ;)

As we return home, the prints we left on the way out have already vanished.  Sasha tries to convince me this means we haven't gone yet. Not a single person or critter have we seen, but a tree creaks ominously under the weight it now bears.

The child inside me chooses to build a snowman to stand guard outside our home.  Alas, while super willing to "help", Sasha also feels this is a full volume activity, so it must quickly be abandoned.  Perhaps tomorrow if the adult reality of shovelling doesn't steal the fun and romance from the scene.  We shall see.

It looks to be cold for the next few days, which any other week of the year would have me hibernating.  But right now it means we could very well have a white Christmas, and, well, that is where great stories begin.

Mistakes are proof that you're trying...

I'm so not even vaguely close to this yet.
My Spanish homework for the week was to write a story using a random collection of provided words.  So I wrote the story in English and then translated.  And yes, I know that’s not the way you’re supposed to do it, but it’s already super slow and painful – going directly to Spanish isn’t an option yet.   And the difference between the two versions?  OMG.   It was a random very short story in English, but at least it was a story.  By the time I finished attempting to put it in Spanish, it was a ridiculously bland, barely comprehensible, "See Spot Run" narrative *sigh*   Ah well.   

What impressed me the most – when I was typing in Spanish, my spell check and autocorrect were angry, but the punctuation adapted.  When I typed in an English paragraph I got normal quotation marks, and when I typed in a Spanish paragraph I got their double triangle things…    Now if only it was smart enough to switch autocorrect accordingly as well, I’d be set ;)  Of course, my phone (where I usually practice my Spanish) tries to do that and ends up doing part in English and part in Spanish – sometimes in one text ;)  Lol fun fun.

Today I learned I can't jump backwards...

Let's talk agility.  It would seem that despite excessive amounts of agile training, I have none ;-P.  Lol okay those may be two different takes on the word, but still.  It would be nice if they aligned.

So Nicole and I are into week two of Core de Force.  And we've chosen the "deluxe" version because, why not ;). Said deluxe version has several videos, mostly agility related, that aren't in the original selection and I've never done before.

Week one went reasonably well.  All the cardio was a bit of a shock to the system but my arms and legs are missing the weights.  All good - I'll do the month and then throw in another "hard labour" week.   In week one there was an agility video which used a ladder -- which I don't have.   Not a ladder you climb, rather one that lies on the ground and you step in and out of.   So I did the exercise without and then hit up Amazon.  All good right?

Suffice to say I do not look like this.   But it does show part of the ladder ;)
Then today's workout.  Ah today's workout.  First sign -- only six rounds.  Most are nine; I seem to remember some of the later ones are 12.   So seeing six, it isn't a "yeah this'll be easy" sign.  No.  Not new.  It's like walking into a jump lesson and seeing all the fences set at 2' -- you know the exercise will be nearly impossible.

But it gives me a chance to use my shiny new ladder, so that's exciting.  And this is where I learned I cannot, for the life of me, hop or jump backwards.  Lol apparently not a required skill in my world.  Because in the backwards exercises -- I wasn't even *close* to making it from one rung of the ladder to the next.  Nope, I moved maybe an inch?  It was really quite sad.  And frustrating.

Some of the ladder exercises were super fun, and I was so entertained by them I didn't really notice how gross the puddle of sweat by my feet was becoming.   But the stupid hopping backwards *sigh*. And the one with the twisty hips???  Honestly, I suspect I look very much like a drunk angry squirrel *sigh*.
You can find anything on Google ;)
While I sometimes wish there was a mirror in our workout area so I could see what I'm doing, in the agility routines I'm very glad there is not.  In my imagination I'm a fighting machine!  Lol I don't want to ruin that with reality.

Reality check ;)
Overall though, I'm really enjoying this series.  Lots of variety, the exercises move quickly, and many of them are entertaining.  I am missing the weights (who knew?) but I certainly still feel like I'm getting decent workouts.  And having a workout buddy is awesome!

I'm sorry, did I roll my eyes out loud?

Under the "once a barn girl" category -- shower this am got cut short when the hot water disappeared rather instantly; sadly this happened just after thoroughly lathering shampoo.  Ugh.  Fail.   So had the pleasure of dunking my head in the ice cold water to get the suds out, but there was no way I was doing the conditioner thing under those circumstances.

No big deal right?   Definitely very much a first world problem (my favourite kind ;).  However, my hair is very fine, very long, and there's a lot of it.   This means that without chemical assistance it's nearly impossible to get a comb through it.  hmmmmm other options?   Show sheen!   Lol well not quite, but the puppy version.   Yup, Sasha's leave-in detangled worked wonders on my hair.  For the win.

Nicole and I are starting Core de Force tomorrow -- if you've any interest in joining us, let me know! Anyone welcome!   To kick this off, I did half an hour on the rower this eve -- I should be sufficiently sore to start tomorrow.   Lol ah well.  Not my best plan, but it's the kind of mindless exercise I wanted tonight.

Finishing out the week

So just to finish off the story -- I did, in fact, complete the "Week of Hard Labour" successfully.  The 3rd day was core, and I really didn't think too much of it.  Compared to Core de Force or P90X type core workouts it didn't seem nearly as bad.  Until the dreaded day after the day after.  OMG.  I literally couldn't sit or stand straight.   It wasn't the usual muscles, but the ones on the side.  It was like they just collapsed in so all of me wanted to curl into a ball or slouch in a chair.   Absolutely brutal.   Was three - four days before I felt like a functional human being with reasonable posture again ;)

This was followed by an arm day, and then "full body".  I'm not actually certain which of the two did me in, but the following day I was trying to talk on my phone, and after about 30 seconds was having trouble holding it all the way up to my ear.   I also couldn't handle washing my hair after the full body workout.  So yeah.   The workout itself was incredibly boring and repetitive -- if you're going to try it, have a TV or something playing for background interest.  It's certainly not like any of the others I've done where you have to pay attention to keep up.  But it was very definitely effective.

Since then I've done a couple X3 videos but nothing serious.  I'm thinking maybe I'll finish out the remaining weeks of X3 and then decide what I'd like to do next.  May try 21 day fix extreme again -- I liked those workouts just not the trainer...   Alternately Core de Force.  Or maybe a mix of week of 1, week of the other?   We'll see...

Today's dose of psychobabble...

So years ago I did the full on Myers Briggs thing and was INTJ. The only things that stuck of that assessment was that the I was Introvert (lol no surprise there) and that it was supposedly a fairly rare combination (maybe I’m not imagining it when most people don’t seem to see the world the way I do?). The J stuck with me because young me didn’t realize how judgmental I actually am ;) Slightly more self-aware me acknowledges that’s actually pretty accurate ;-P I remember nothing of the N or the T other than that they were the letters assigned.

I know that given time, it’s been mostly shot down and promptly replaced with other equally shoot-down-able theories ;) People do use it at work though – I’ve been asked a few times if I knew my letters and what they are. Lol regardless, yesterday this random quiz popped up on my FB (you know how reliable those are eh?) but it was super short so I figured I’d give it a go, and sure enough it gave the same combo of letters. Hmmmm okay. I didn’t agree much with the description though so I went digging through old stuff and Google until I found a more in-depth review which is so many ways was bang on. And the ways that weren’t at all a fit (specifically – I’m known at work for my people skills, but it’s decidedly not a trait of this type) I realized after thinking about it were things that I worked very hard to cultivate and mostly learned the hard way – not things that necessarily came easily.

I was chatting with a mentor at work and she, having only known me for the last couple years, wondered if I’d actually get the same results if I did the test again. Well I’m not committed enough to go pay to do the whole intensive thing again, but I did find a middle-of-the-road freebie version; I think maybe 15-20 questions? I resisted the urge to tweak my answers and went with what actually was. And…

Yup, exactly the same result. The T/F is right on the borderline – which intuitively strikes me as correct. I could go either way with that one. I don’t remember the percentages I had way back when, so I can’t say if they’ve shifted at all. But still the same letter combo. Although looking at this chart – it has an extra random letter ;) Lol but it didn’t show in the results, so I guess they’re just expanding their analysis.

Some of my favorites from the description (which this site calls Architect):
  • Architects form just two percent of the population, and women of this personality type are especially rare, forming just 0.8% of the population” -- sweet, normal is boring.
  • “Architects are simultaneously the most starry-eyed idealists and the bitterest of cynics, a seemingly impossible conflict” -- I’m pretty sure I said something like this in the “This is Me” post a few days ago.
  • Architects are often given the title of “bookworm” as children.” -- ummm yes.
  • Architects radiate self-confidence and an aura of mystery, and their insightful observations, original ideas and formidable logic enable them to push change through with sheer willpower and force of personality.” -- I don’t know if this is true or not, but it sounds good ;)
  • Architects use their creativity and imagination not so much for artistry, but for planning contingencies and courses of action for all possible scenarios.” -- pretty sure this is my job description
  • Authority figures do not impress Architects, nor do social conventions or tradition, and no matter how popular something is.” -- This.  I always used “all the cool kids are doing it” as a sarcastic joke.   Until I became friends with someone who is the extreme opposite and hugely motivated by them; I will never be able to respect this, but I try to understand and trained myself to bite my tongue.
  • If something piques their interest, Architects can be astonishingly dedicated to their work, putting in long hours and intense effort to see an idea through.” Well.  Have you read the blog?  ;)
  • When presented with unfamiliar territory, such as alternate lifestyles, Architects tend to apply their receptiveness and independence, and aversion to rules and traditions, to these new ideas as well, resulting in fairly liberal social senses.” -- Yup
  • Architects will keep up with just a few good friends, eschewing larger circles of acquaintances in favor of depth and quality.”  Quality over quantity.  
  • And of course at work: “As their careers progress further and their reputation grows, so will the complexity of Architects’ tasks and projects. Architects demand progress and evolution, new challenges and theories, and they often accomplish this by pushing into more active strategic positions.” Lol says she who’s actively seeking a strategy position.   It also suggests PM as an appropriate role fit.
Anyways – just amused me so thought I’d share. Have you ever done one of these? How did it resonate with you?

May the odds be ever in your favour...

Yet another year that I am not planning to play the Nanowrimo game (National Novel Writing Month - to the uninitiated; it's pretty amazing).  It's the first year in a long time though that I could potentially have made the time to do so, so I'm considering that a step in the right direction :).  It's just that I'm choosing to direct that time to Spanish lessons instead.   And no, I don't spend nearly as much time on Spanish as I'd spend on Nanowrimo, but I spend enough time on it that there's no longer sufficient time left over for writing -- at least, not if I want to remain gainfully employed ;).  I will aim to up the blog posts and maybe get in a few flash fictions though in the spirit of the month.

Re Spanish -- I have a new teacher due to the fact that my previous teacher has left indefinitely to backpack around South America.  Lol he's super excited about it and has never travelled anywhere so I'm happy for him and appropriately jealous ;).  But it meant I needed to find someone new.  This was quite the search -- I'm amazed how many online instructors don't teach on weekends?!?!?   And most of the teachers in Spain are out because the timezones are prohibitive.  The teacher I have now does a much better job at getting me to actually speak Spanish (win!) lol but is not as good a teacher or as prepared for the lessons.  However, given that *anything* is progress given my current level, and they lessons are super affordable, I'm giving this brute force immersion method of learning a try ;)

Duolingo's claims are a little overambitious ;).
By 51% I'd expect to be able to have/understand at least basic conversations in Spanish.  Sheesh.
In unrelated news - I finished the Fusion Fitness program.   The last week wasn't nearly as exciting as the first three, but overall I'm glad I did it.   Was an interesting variety and I got to try some new exercises.   This week I'm doing the "Week of Hard Labour" -- which is entirely weights (no cardio) and with a different instructor.  I don't really like the instructor but it's only 5 days.  The exercises are all very standard type that you would find at the gym with the average trainer.  I figured that was an okay thing to do for a week.  Then I'll find a new insane program next week.   Debating between finishing the last month of X3 or doing something entirely different.  Lol stay tuned ;)

Hmmmm or on second thought, maybe I *should* do Nanowrimo....   I just looked it up and last time was 2010?!?!

This is me

So I stumbled upon this online, and saw a few interesting answers and some very odd.   Then I shared it, and got all kinds of different answers, but all one word.   Amazing how poignant one word can be.  Or six, as per the classic short story, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

But I digress, and because one-word has never been my thing, I thought I'd see what I could come up with that met the above criteria.

*this section inserted after writing below: Lol so that was more fun, and more personal, than I expected.   Re-reading, I deleted three lines that I felt was too close to breaking the rules as outlined above (two about family - "friends" and one about travel - "things you did"), but otherwise left it in the order it came to me.  And while the inner-editor in me wants to go back, I've decided in the interest of honesty to post as is.  It gets a little babbly -- consider yourself forewarned.*

So here goes...

Stubborn.  Happy.  Idealistic.  Cynical.  A lover of words, I clearly cannot pick just one.  I'm an adventure enthusiast and paradoxically a seeker of calm. Animals almost always make me happy; people occasionally do. Photos and memories make me smile. Dreams give me a reason to wake up in the morning.  If somebody tells me I can't do it; odds are I will -- unless I don't want to  (see "stubborn" above ;). A young spirit in a grown-up body with an old soul.  A lover of moonlit nights and sleeping through sunrise. One who neither trusts nor forgives easily but loves fiercely and forever.  A believer in logic and science and dreams and magic.  Thunderstorms energize me.  I see no reason to interfere with or be offended by the way other people choose to live their lives, unless they cause harm to others.  I am fascinated by how people's minds work, and often wish I could hear what was going on in them -- if only for a few seconds.  I lament not knowing all the things I'll never have enough time to learn.  My imagination amuses me to no end and I enjoy the contrast between what it sees and reality; when that line blurs, I hope medical science is at the point it can provide clarity.  Normal is boring and to be both feared and avoided.  Change is revitalizing.  I love technology, but have no wish to be ruled by it.  Silence is preferred over small talk.  One of my favourite simple pleasures is to curl up in a comfy chair with a sleeping dog, a purring cat, a good book, sunlight - or torrential rain - and nothing else I have to do.   A bubble bath, a beach, a waterfall, or a hike in the woods by a stream will all put me in my relaxed happy place.  Apparently water is a thing.  Sun is also a thing.  Someday, I would love to live somewhere that doesn't see winter.  Horses help me feel truly alive, confident, and happy.  Most of the time.  I have yet to outgrow waterparks or playground equipment (although somehow the monkey bars are So. Much. Harder. than I remember :).  The darkest hours of the night are my favourite time of day, and the thing I resent most about work is that I no longer get to appreciate them.  And as those hours are approaching, I will now turn off my technology, run a warm bubble bath, and savour every moment of it.

Good night.

Body type: not terrible but definitely enjoys pasta

So last night I slid the workout in at the last minute - which of course resulted in me being wide awake well after bedtime. Amazing arm workout - part of P90X3, which I was doing before so I have 2 months of records (3 tries of this video) and both weights and success rate have gone up significantly- so pretty pleased at that ;). Admittedly a couple of them took me to the point of failure today but still - improvement :)

Woke up a couple hours later with my arms and back zombified. Oops.

Lol and then today... Okay so today was 1-1 Plyo Legs. The 1-1 videos are filmed in what appears to be Tony's home gym -- a home gym by the way that I'm extremely jealous of ;). It's an hour of, well, plyo and legs. It started with a few different types of squats at ridiculously high reps - 40-50 each type?!?!. So much so I wouldn't have believed I could do it, had I not, in fact, just done it.

After that, however, things just got crazy. And I started live blogging ;). So consider yourself forewarned -- the as it happened story of my 50 minutes of exercise this am (sorry didn't occur to me till I had too much time on my hands so warmup and first 10 mins not included):

3 min wall sit? Wtf? Ah well -- at least it gives me time to type. Hey the notes say 1-3 mins. Why did we pick 3? Who was on that committee?

20 exercises. There are 20 exercises on today's list.

"I feel like I can do 5 more?" Who ARE you?!?! Seriously - nobody does that.

I just learned this is a step up from P90X for people who want to up their reps. I am not that person.

I may have fallen over after leap frog squats. At least I landed on a bed. But that makes getting back up even that much harder.

I am definitely breathing heavier than in the cardio routines.

Wtf - now chair squats?!? So not in my contract. Apparently it's a different muscle group - I don't know if I'm drinking that Kool-Aid. Two rounds of 45 seconds for this one. Better than 3 mins with the wall, but, well, no wall helping out.

Zigzags - I'm totally doing my own pattern ;). Ziging and Zagging, but not at all in the same order or direction Tony is.

Omg now the chair squat is on one leg?!? 90 seconds switching legs every 10. I cheated at one point - turns out if you cross your legs it's significantly easier. Who knew??? And the last 10 I did with both feet on the floor. 90 seconds does give me plenty of time to blog though ;)

50-100 reps?!?! I'm sorry, unless it's nap time, that's completely unreasonable. This would be tire runs. Suffice to say my tires were pretty flat. And my knees didn't come anywhere near my elbows. Earning my "honesty water" now.

6 exercises and 20 mins left. Not that I'm counting.

Oh - a new one that seems way less stressful than the others! But wait - after 50 reps it still hurts. Blah

Oh good - more jumping squats. Squat to chair and back. Sure - totally reasonable. Frig. Yes those are in other P90 vids so I've done them before but not after 45 mins of squats!

Woohoo - one I like! This one (a side lunge w weights) I rarely feel while I'm doing it but always feel the next day. Since I'm going to feel everything tomorrow, nbd. "We're done! No we're not." Tony's a jerk ;-P

"The monster - hardest one in the batch and we put it right at the end." I second my above comment. It reminds me of an old trainer I had who said that to do the job you had to be really good, understanding, and just a little mean ;)

Yeah I got those in and pretty well fell over after the last one. Squat, jump and spin 180, squat. Oh good - we get to do it again and spin the other way *sigh*.

Okay they got me - didn't make it all the way through that one :(

And now squat jumps on one leg. I did this, but the "squat" was more of a slight lowering (my fingers were closer to my knees than the floor!) and the "jump" was maybe a mm off the floor, or may have been more of a heel-lift.

And the last one! Picture a pro downhill skier doing mogels and now do that in your living room. Side to side jumps w knees always bent moving forward, and when you run out of room, backward. Would be almost fun if it didn't follow all of the above. And at 110 reps - too much of a good thing.

Oh and do you remember yesterday's arms? I'm actually finding it hard to hold my phone and type this at the same time.

Done and Done.  I feel so amazing right now.  Tomorrow, otoh...  Well that's future Lauren's problem.

Exercising would be so much more rewarding if calories screamed while you burned them.

So I’m still in the program  Just haven’t been super inclined to blog the last few – mostly because they haven’t been terribly blog worthy.

Saturday I did HC22 cardio. It was hard – all the HC ones are. It was repetitive – all the HC ones are. Lol as much strength as cardio so overall wasn’t thrilled. But it’s only 22 minutes, so if there’s going to be one series I don’t like, I’m just as glad it’s the shortest one ;) They also pretty well never show modifiers in this one, but what I found out is they *did* film them! And the modifier for this one posted the link to all the modifications in the FB group – so thought that was fairly cool. I didn’t actually watch it, but still appreciated that it was there.

Sunday was rest day – woohoo! And I think the first time ever I’ve had a planned rest day. Lol – all the programs have at least one a week, but mine usually gets moved randomly to whatever day I don’t manage to get any exercise in that week. Was actually surprisingly nice to be able to look forward to it instead of just accidentally using it up. Made for a true rest day. Interesting concept ;)

I totally do this ;)
Monday was more cardio – of the P90X version. This one I really enjoyed – although arguably wasn’t amazing cardio. Started with yoga for a warmup, which was surprisingly effective. Common sense I guess that you can move better after stretching and becoming all bendy, but that’s the first time I’ve actually seen such dramatic results. Then the workout itself had a decent variety. Some of the MMX type moves, which I love – but again, I didn’t find these nearly as much of a workout as Core de Force. Then some plyo, which I generally hate, but these ones were almost too easy – again, not as much of a workout as I’d expect. And then… I don’t even remember what finished it off. It was fun, it kept moving, and I got a workout. But arguably just not as good a workout as some of the other programs. To put in perspective – I was sweaty, but my hair wasn’t soaked ;) Lol that’s actually the bar by which I measure cardio now.

Today is all about the arms – but I haven’t done it yet; my bed was just too comfy and too warm.   Workouts are way more challenging after work, but at least it's one I like.  Wish me luck!

Trying to remove your sports bra after arm day... The struggle is real.

My spotters ;)
PSA for women with a long ponytail -- tie it into a bun or some variant before inviting an ab ball to the workout.  Felt all kind of special when I rolled back, weights in both hands, and realized I'd rolled onto said ponytail, effectively trapping myself.   Fortunately weights weren't all that heavy, so was able to roll myself forward again, but really?  lol sheesh.

This might be the first upper body workout I've ever experienced that involved zero push-ups and zero pull-ups.   And while I really enjoyed the lack of push-ups, I admit I missed playing on my grownup jungle gym ;)

So today was P90X2 Shoulders and Arms and clocks in at just under an hour.  As with the last hour one, it had an excessively long warmup that actually didn't leave me all that warm ;).  The workout itself was excellent though.   A series of - as you might expect - arm and shoulder exercises.   Most of which are done while standing on one foot to engage core/balance.  The reclining ones were done on the ab ball, which is always moderately entertaining.  Then you repeat all the exercises twice more.

Tucker wasn't nearly as impressed with my selection as I was ;)
Throughout this I used all my weights from 2-15lbs.  And yes, 15 is about the biggest I use for arms so for me that's good ;).  And the exercise I used two for, the woman on the TV was using nothing ;).  Since she is in WAY better shape than I, I'm calling that a win *g*.  Got through all three sets without lowering the weights or modifying.  Was feeling pretty good and somewhat proud of myself.  And then I went to pick up my phone to send a text.   Oh dear.   Literally holding the phone and trying to text at the same time was proving to be a sincere challenge.   I sense tomorrow will be interesting ;)

I will say though, the cool down was amazing.   Used the ab ball for a shoulder stretch (I know, random eh?) that was both a - incredibly effective, and b - possibly the best thing I've ever felt.  So exactly what my body needed.  So yeah, that alone made the workout worth it.
Current state
Interesting quote of the day: "don't let your goals screw up your workout" -- as in, if you target 10 and still have energy left, don't quit just cause you reached 10.  And conversely, if it's not working out for you today, accept the 8 and keep going.

Definitely one I would try again, but I'm coming more and more to believe that the 30 min workouts really are just as effective as the hour ones.  Mostly because they move much faster and don't include warmup or cool down.  Since those are the ones I'm more likely to stick with, kinda happy that's the case.

The fountain of youth

So I left for work at 6am and got home about 7:40pm.   Very long day, but I still pressed play :)

Fortunately it was yoga day, so low stress.  Supposed to be P90X Yoga -- but that's 90 minutes and, well, see above.  So I did The Fountain Of Youth -- last week's hour-long yoga (that I didn't do last week) instead.   Honestly, not one I'd do again.

So first we have the fact that yoga bores me combined with the fact that I cannot do it -- makes me really dislike the entire experience to begin with.   But this entire hour, I could do; there wasn't a single "you've got to be f'n kidding me" move.  Which tells me it wasn't particularly challenge.   Yoga's also supposed to be restful, but the background had a weird clicking sound that entirely got on my nerves -- for that reason alone, I'd avoid this video.   The pics I saw on FB of people who did the workout that was supposed to be today -- it looks thoroughly impossible so other than the 90 min commitment, I'd like to try it.  Maybe on rest day -- we'll see.

On the plus side -- the instruction on this video was excellent and gave me some tips that greatly changed how I was doing basic moves that are seen in every vid.  So for that reason alone, I'm glad I did it.   And also, my body feels so much better -- so it was worth doing.  My back and legs in particular are way less tense than they were.

Which is good -- because tomorrow is an hour of arms and back!  Yikes!

I can't get out of bed; my fitbit is charging and the steps won't count.

This morning my husband got up at four am.  This is a pretty standard occurrence that I generally meet by rolling over and going back to sleep.   Then at five he’ll come in and say goodbye, and I go back to sleep again.  Then I get up for real around six.  It’s like extended snooze alarms.

Except today when he got up, I couldn’t fall back asleep.  And was thoroughly unhappy about it.   Lay there till after he left, still hoping that maybe I just *might* manage a few more minutes.  Alas, was not meant to be – and worse, my brain was spinning around things that annoyed me more than a decade ago involving people who haven’t been part of my life in nearly as long.   This did not lead to a happy Lauren.

This might lead to a happy Lauren ;)
So I figured I could continue to lie there, failing to sleep, and becoming more unimpressed with my wayward mind.  Or I could get up and actually get in today’s workout – which knowing my work schedule today I was afraid would be a challenge. 

And so realizing that exercising is also a good way to burn off angry (even if it’s misplaced, decades-old angry), I chose the dedicated version and pushed play.   Today’s was Triometrics (for a laugh, reread the first time I tried it.   Not as dramatic as some of my “first time through” posts, but still fun to compare).   In summary – it’s an entirely leg workout where each exercise gets progressively harder over 60-90 seconds.  While not one of my top favourites, it is one I enjoy.   And while it’s one that it’s easy to cheat on, today there was no cheating.  Today, when my legs were already toasted from some workout or another that’s being blocked by my memory for the sake of my sanity, today I chose to push it.   The jumps were real jumps, the squats were very deep, and the modifications none.  Well – that’s not entirely true – no modifications until the point that I literally couldn’t do them anymore.  The last two exercises I got to level 2, but few to no reps of level 3.  And being at work is killing me.  

Can’t sit straight; come to think of it, sitting at all is painful.   Stairs are a special kind of hell.  My back is still feeling the other day and my lower half is toast from today.  And just to join in, whatever muscle connects the shoulder blades is making itself known anytime I dare to sit up straight ;)

But plus side – I did the workout.  I *really* did the workout.  And I was in a much better mood at the end of it.  Sadly that mood was fried within about half an hour of getting to work *sigh*   But that’s not Tony’s fault ;-P    I also tried a new protein powder that scored particularly highly on the science side of things that – I was pleased to discover – didn’t taste gross.  For the win :)

And for the first time in my life, I’m looking forward to yoga day tomorrow.

If at first you don't succeed, fix your ponytail and try again.

Today's adventure is Hard Corps Resistance 2.  And it toasted me.  Wow.

lol this is so me, I just had to include it.
First up -- my back was pretty sore after whatever I did to it yesterday, but one of today's exercises stretched it and actually made it better.  So that was pretty awesome.

As per previous HC vids, this one does three rounds of a set of exercises -- this one had a pretty even balance of arms and legs.  Lots of burpees, pull ups, squat jumps, and weights.  Definitely not my favourite video, but it was effective.  I'm fairly sore and exhausted ;).  All good.

Tomorrow is an exceptionally long day at work, so going to be a challenge to get the exercise in.  Not going to happen before work -- will take a fair amount of dedication to happen after.

In other news -- my Spanish teacher is going travelling for a few months; meaning lessons may be few or non-existent.  Boooo :(.  Not that there aren't a few hundred others to pick from, but was finally starting to feel like I was getting somewhere! Booo.  Ah well -- will get a few lessons in this week before he leaves and then see who else I can find...

Happy Thanksgiving

So Thanksgiving at the cottage was amazing, as always :).   A *slightly* different experience from the last twenty years or so in that the "cottage" has grown from the most rustic of lovely little homes in the woods to a completely stunning home that embraces such modern fads as electricity and plumbing ;).   I'm not sure those are going to catch on long term, but they're certainly good toys ;-P

Love the single-log fire my cousins built
Our traditional garbage-can turkey was as amazing as always :).   Still sounds horrible and amusing for shock value, but the end result is amazingly tasty Turkey in a fraction of the time.   Arguably not suitable for a city situation, but perfect out there!

Sasha had an amazing time bounding through the woods chasing chipmunks and swimming in the lake.  Multiple long walks.  Very happy puppy, loves it there as much as I do.   But she's been asleep for the last 24h making up for it ;)

Today I'm home though -- and that meant after 3 days of doing nothing but eat, play with Sasha, and eat some more, it's time to do the next day of Fusion.  Today was P90 Cardio.  It did its job in that I was a sweaty mess by the end of it, but it wasn't nearly as challenging as some of the others.  Had some of the shadow fighting, but not nearly as intense as Core De Force or even P90X3 MMX.   If I'd realized, I would've subbed in MMX but oh well.   Down side, at some point I wrenched my back so hurting now :(.  But not the fun muscle "I worked out" hurting, this is just ow.  Fail.

Ah well -- off to Chris' parents' for Thanksgiving dinner the 2nd and tomorrow as a random vacation day.  All pretty civilized really.

Today's exercise brought to you by the letters W, T, and F

So today's exercise video was Fountain of Youth -- which I was very much looking forward to until I discovered it was yoga.  And I really didn't have the time or patience for an hour of yoga today ;).  It can wait till I'm tired and recovering from wonderful Thanksgiving cottageness ;-P

So I substituted tomorrow's workout of Special Ops Resistance.   Ummmm this can pretty much be summarized as WTF?!?   Maybe if I hadn't just done the previous three days, it would've been okay (well except the ab pull up thing -- that's never happening).   But today, not so much....  It was the most ridiculous 22 minutes.  And one move that involved rolling over (like I said, wtf???) just left me dizzy and nauseated.  Ugh.   Anyways - suffice to say I'm glad that one isn't on the list again.  Most of the ones I can't do, I find a moderately amusing challenge, but this one.  No.  Just no.

Short post because it's COTTAGE TIME :).  Woohoo!

You make my knees feel weak… Just kidding – yesterday was leg day.

My legs are so tight right now, I swear I’m shorter than I was yesterday!   It’s all that jumping – clearly.   Every time you land, your body gets compressed.   Sound logic, right?  Tony did say not to do this barefoot on cement;  I suspect he was being slightly facetious, but I was indeed barefoot on almost-cement (read carpeted basement floor).   If I had a masseuse, I have reasonable confidence they could get me back to my original height, but alas, I do not.

Anyways – today was The Challenge.  This is all arms – alternating push-up and pull-up exercise for 30 mins.  It’s essentially impossible, but actually one of my favourites J   At least partially because if you fill out the handy-dandy chart, you can see what progress you’re making (or not, I suppose) over time.   So while I still have sadly low numbers (6 pull ups and 10 push ups) they’re significantly higher than they were when I started a little over two months ago.  Win!

The day starts with wide pull-ups.   Just no.  I can’t do these – like at all.  Esp as my bar options are quite narrow or very wide; there’s no inbetween.   Fortunately I invested in a pull-up assist band, and with that I can achieve my 6 J   Then for the rest of the time allowed I use the resistance band and do the “modified” exercise.   So my goal is 6 with assist and 20 modified for each exercise.   All good.   Then 10 normal pushups.   Then repeat both of those – on the second try I was really pushing to get to 20 of the modified.

Then it was chin ups (my favourite as I can actually do them) followed by military pushups (yet another reason I wouldn’t have done well in the military).  The chin-ups I got to THREE without an assist, four more with, and the 20 modified (these are pulling down on a band rather than pulling bodyweight up against gravity, so significantly easier – but at least I use the strongest band!).   And yes, that three deserves its capital letters.  I couldn’t even do one when I started and that’s the first time I’ve ever done three.  So win for me J    The military pushups…  Ugh.   I’m claiming I did all ten, but the tenth one I moved maybe an inch?  Lol it definitely wasn’t an all the way down, all the way up kind of thing.  (TBH – even my good pushups only go half way.   Tony’s okay with that though, so so am I).   I refrained from falling on my face, so we’re calling that a win.   2nd time through I only got to 2.5 on the no-assist.  Couldn’t make the three *sigh*.  Ah well.

Let’s see, I believe this was followed by close pull ups (thumbs touching).  Ummm yeah.   So the assist was brought back into play and even with that barely got to my 6.   The pushups were wide though, which is the easiest for me, so that was a nice balance and I got through all.  Second round almost exactly the same.

Done right?  Not so much…   We have vaulter pull-ups – as in one hand forward and the other backward.  Did okay with these – two with no assist and then admittedly struggled for the four with the assist.  Pushups were a weird one hand military and one hand up and out combo.  Nearly landed face first fighting for the last one but made it.  2nd round is same concept with hand positions switched for each.  Only made one unassisted this way.  Boo.   The rest was all okay though.

Then of course “oh, we got through that too quickly – burnout round!”  I’m pretty sure my neighbours could hear my eyes roll.   This is one pull-up (player’s choice as to style) followed by three push-ups.  Rinse and repeat.  I got to 6 before my arms gave out completely.  That’s a tie for my record – other scores ranging as low as 3.  So overall pretty happy with today’s workout.

However now I’ve done legs and arms – means tomorrow I should be pretty seriously sore.  And it’s an hour workout that I’ve never done before.  Yikes!

The laws of physics are merely a suggestion

Today was supposed to be The Challenge - which is 30 mins and one of my favourite routines.   However, tomorrow my timing is going to be very tight, and it is scheduled to have Plyocide -- which is an hour long and just sounds nasty.

Being a dedicated individual, I decided to tackle the nasty one today.  Plyocide.  And tbh, it wasn't that bad.  It *is* an hour, but it's an hour that includes about 12 mins each of warmup and cool down. And then the exercises themselves have more of a break between them than in the 30 minute routines.

So exercise-wise and effort-wise I don't actually think it's any more challenging (or useful) than the 30 minute ones.  That being said, I found the cool down super useful.   It's the one thing that's often lacking in P90X3 (there's an extra warmup vid for X3 but no extra cool down).

It was plyo - which means a lot of jumping and leaping around which I don't really enjoy, but like I said, less brutal than the X3 version.   There was one exercise that required a bench which I don't have so I made something up for that, but otherwise good to go.  And I survived the plyo pushups!  Woohoo!   Always nice to have quantitative results -- a few weeks ago I couldn't do that; now I can.  I also liked that it kept going and had lots of variety.  No multiple sets of the same exercises which was good.  

And, several hours later, my whole body is tired, so I feel it did what it was supposed to ;)

Burpees? Frig - I thought you said slurpees!

So I've still be having challenges convincing myself to be dedicated to month three of P90X3, but then in a FB group somebody posted a message asking who was doing the October Fusion Challenge.   Say what now?  lol.  A little more digging led to:

Just what I needed - another impossible exercise routine.   Why not?   So two challenges here -- one, Thanksgiving is this weekend and I'll be cottaging for a few days ;).  This is non negotiable.  So I may have to double up on a couple of others to fit those in.   I also just don't like Accelerator, so that one may get replace with a fall hike with Sasha :).  And two -- lots of these are a lot longer than my 30 min commitment.   So scheduling, esp this week, could be a challenge.    I figure those are seriously counteracted by two advantages: one crazy Facebook group that's flooding my newsfeed and is actually reasonably motivational, and two new videos that I'm actually interested to try.  Well except anything that has "Plyo" in the title -- those are bound to be an unpleasant experience ;)

Today was Hard Corps Cardio 1.  This series, which I've been interested in trying but haven't gotten around to (mostly because I was warned it's very repetitive) is based on training programs created for the military and on super-intensity as the workouts are only 22 minutes.   As the title would suggest, today's was cardio.  Was actually a remarkably good workout for 22 minutes.  It moves *fast* -- way more so than the other videos I've done.   It was definitely repetitive -- the same 4 exercises repeated 3 times (or 5 exercises?  Clearly my memory is blocking it; well that and I don't count particularly well at stupidly-early o'clock).   A jumping jack combo, lunging/squating, side shuffling, something they call A jumps, bear crawls, and burpees.  ALL the burpees.  And I was wrong, by my count now that makes for 6 exercises.  Regardless, go through them all at ridiculously high counts, then do it again -- some higher counts, some lower, then once more for good luck.  And then just when you think you're done...

Yup, still more bear crawls and burpees.   This is why people hate Mondays ;-P

Anyways -- this was done military drill style with the constant counting and people shouting out numbers.  Not nearly as much correction or focus on form as other videos I've done.  But it definitely moved *FAST*. A 50 count in any other video would be insane, in this one it was no big deal.     And I was super pleased that I kept up and there was no modifying.  That could be however because I wasn't exhausted due to the aforementioned lack of effort lately -- whether I could do that in the middle of an exercise program???   Questionable.

Anyways -- tomorrow is The Challenge, which is one of my favourites, followed by Plyocide which I'm dreading with a passion even though I've never experienced it before; this is even worse because there is zero time on Wed and it's a long video.  Yikes.   The Fountain of Youth on Thursday wins for more appealing name if nothing else :).  And then I'll be at the cottage ;)

Some people never learn...

So I did a new (to me) P90X3 video Wednesday – Complex Lower.   As the name would suggest, it’s an entirely lower-body focused workout.   By far the most repetitive I’ve come across in this series – the most like a normal gym workout.  Where you do a circuit of 10-15 reps of five exercises and then repeat the circuit four times.   Now “one” exercise involves: dead lift, squat, and lunge on both sides.   So it’s not *really* only five exercise ;)  

The workout itself wasn’t nearly as challenging as many of the others, but I could feel myself stiffen almost immediately following it – which is never a good sign.   The next day I was okay – not nearly as sore as I’d feared, until almost bedtime when my hamstrings randomly decided they needed to shorten significantly.  Ow.

Today however (the dreaded day after the day after) I woke up and honestly had forgotten the workout.  Usually that’s a great sign.  Until I just about fell down the stairs ;-P   Yup, apparently that’s not in my contract for today.   Was okay coming back up said stairs later, but down, down is evil.

So now I’m going to go sit in a 2.5h meeting without moving.   I suspect I’m going to age about 30 years in mobility in that time *sigh*.  Lunch time is definitely going to require a walk.

FIT (ish): Semi-fit; Kinda-fit; Someone who likes the idea of fit, but equally likes food.

So it's a brilliance or disaster kinda post.  The brilliance literally, the disaster in a first-world problems kinda way ;). But hey, I'm telling you stories ;)

We'll start with some true disaster -- I was very disappointed to learn that while it's clearly summer outside, all the waterparks are currently closed.   This thoroughly ruined my brief plans for enjoying mini-summer with a random vacation day tomorrow.  Booo.   Like I said, first world problems :)

In far less disappointing news -- Kennedy and Callie took 2nd at Bronte HT today.   For a mare that last winter wouldn't go over a trotting pole at home without stopping first -- and when she *did* go, it was borderline dangerously out of control, this is pretty awesome improvement.   And, well, amazing summer weather made for an all-round lovely day :).  Seriously brilliant.   And so much fun to watch them galloping on XC -- under control and both horse and rider focused on what was coming up.   Also good to see that fences that were a challenge earlier in the year, were not today.  So overall, my inner coach is doing a happy dance.

My inner athlete however, is less happy.  This because not only did I fall off the wagon, I broke the axle and lit fire to the contents ;-P.  Some people miss a day here or there, or maybe cheat on the diet one meal...   But when do I ever do things the way most people do???  ;-P.  Lol I was so proud of finishing month two that I celebrated with an entire week of no exercise and ALL the junk food.  I'm not even slightly exaggerating -- there was one day that I deemed Cinnabon an appropriate dinner.  Dinner.  Not snack or desert.  The entire meal.   It was a rough week.  About the only thing I did right was sleep (arguably because I was in a food coma?)    I got like 8-10h every night.  I actually can't remember the last time that happened in real life.  Combination of amazing new comfy bed that means I wake up not sore (win! -- who knew this was a thing?) and husband who goes to bed insanely early because he also choses to get up when any reasonable person would look at the clock and be thrilled to still have a few hours left before morning.   So I joined him at bedtime and chose not to get up with him ;).  Thus, many many hours of sleeping....  Wonderful sleeping...  Unsurprisingly, absolutely nothing remotely productive was accomplished last week.   

So today starts a new week.   I *did* exercise today - so am officially back on track.  Woohoo!   And was pleased that neither my weight nor my strength seem to have deteriorated too much from my random detour.   And I got my steps in -- at least partially because I lost my phone when walking XC with Kennedy (see superstar note above) so got to go walk it a second time in search of said phone.  Disaster.  Ugh.  But then brilliance -- I found it.  It was angry because it was overheated and was definitely on the landing side of a jump which would've been disastrous, but as that jump had not yet been on course, it was still safe ;).   

Also, inspired by random youtube videos, I have stumbled upon adult trampolining course at a local gymnastics club.  Enquiries have been made ;). No idea if anything will come of it -- if nothing else, all fall sessions have already started.   But I imagine it could make for some amusing blog posts.  Or not.  I'm not sure how entertaining I can make "I jumped up....   and then I came down".   Stay tuned.

Happy Fri... Wait, it's Tuesday. Frig. Carry on.

Had an awesome customer service experience that made me laugh today.   Went do a local food court for lunch at a well known chain restaurant – sadly, I cannot give them the credit they’re due to protect the innocent lol.   Anyways – this chain sells Pepsi products; I know this, having eaten there many times before, but in the daze that was my day, I forgot and when they asked “would you like something to drink” I automatically responded with “Coke please”.   This of course resulted in the inevitable “Is Pepsi okay?” *sigh* “No, I’ll . . .” but before I could finish uttering my backup choice of beverage, she ducked into the back and returned with a can of coke that she very carefully wrapped two napkins around to disguise.  So credit to her – pushed the company line with trying for Pepsi first, but also had a backup plan to satisfy picky customers.   Honestly, it kinda made my day.  And I definitely bought extra product as a result ;)   It was the wrapping the napkin around the can to disguise it that really clued me in though.   Hahaha smuggling coke – in the most innocent sense of the word.

So I was also amused in my Spanish lesson the other day – two things I struggle with: tenses of verbs and remembering that words change depending on gender of person under discussion.    Lol so often whether I am doing something, will be doing something, or have already done it is, well, open to interpretation and can lead to confusing conversations, esp as they don’t all switch tenses the same way – tbh most days I’m happy that I picked the right verb at least ;-P    But way funnier was when I turned my brothers into sisters the other day.  Lol   Well I was amused anyways – suffice to say it’s a good thing my coach is patient!

How to make your writing concise...

Lots of people (myself included) struggle with making their writing concise.  All those words have meaning, clearly they're all critical to the perfect picture you're trying to paint.   Well I just learned the trick to editing to truly the essentials ;).    Translate it into a language you barely speak where you have to fight for every word.   Lol had to send a message to my Spanish teacher -- had it all nicely typed out and then thought well, should probably at least attempt to send in Spanish.   Lol yeah, it quickly became less than half the size.  Same point conveyed.   And since he's not super-fluent in English, would probably not have appreciated my longer version anyways!

Just finished month 2 of P90X3 -- I'm doing the classic version this time instead of the lean version.   Lots more weights, far less cardio.  I'm enjoying it a lot more, but not losing weight as fast -- no surprise.  Am definitely getting stronger (yeah records and quantifiable results!). Chris found us a rowing machine on kijiji so I figure I'll supplement month 3 with the rower and see what that does to the results.

Alright, off to the beast that is Home Depot.  Wish me luck.

#FridayFlash 69: Don't try this at home

This story was completely inspired by a YouTube video posted on my wall this week.   For your entertainment, it is included at the end.

As always, comments very welcome!

Enjoy :)

I followed the instructions so carefully.  I mixed all the powders together, then gently misted the liquid, before finally packing the whole thing around the dragon egg.   Toy dragon that is -- one of the little figurines I had bought five-for-a-dollar at the dollar store.  It would make for a great bath bomb; my nieces would love it.  And of course I had to test one.  After all, I couldn't risk giving them away and having them not work.   If only I'd known...   But how could I?   I still don't really believe it.

Sure enough the bomb fizzled and quickly turned my bath black.  I wasn't sure I liked that aspect -- would pick a friendlier colour next time.   I felt around the tub for the tiny plastic egg, but when I found it, it had already opened.

Disappointed, I started feeling in the black water to find the little plastic toy.  And let when my hand landed on something scaly!   I flew out of the tub and grabbed a towel -- glaring at the water that another inhabitant had ruined for me.

As though expecting something to attack, I carefully reached over, then yanked the plug out and jumped back!   The drama was unnecessary as the black water calmly receded.   I thought maybe a lizard of some type?   But those don't tend to live here.

When the bath drained, a little creature about the size of my hand stood and angrily shook the bath water off.   He was a deep purple colour with wings that glistened.  He cocked his gecko-like head, seeming to study me as I was him.  The moment only lasted a few seconds before I had a very clear picture in my head of me picking him up and getting him out of the tub.

Not at all sure that was a good idea, I nonetheless followed the suggestion.  The creature gave what I'm convinced was a nod of thanks before walking out of the room, his wings folded carefully behind him and tail raised just slightly off the ground.

Panicked barking jolted me out of my shock and I raced to my dog Casey in time to see the tiny creature spread his disproportionately large wings and hiss.   Casey, my fierce protector, backed down instantly.   He could've squashed this creature in a heartbeat, but no, he lay down with a whimper, flicking his eyes from me to the creature.   Sorry Casey, wish I could help...

I opened the door to the yard, pleased when the creature wandered outside.   Relieved I waited an hour for him to leave.   Then two.  But every time I looked outside, he was still there, sunning himself on a rock and growing at an observable rate.   After only a few hours, he was bigger than my German shepherd.

When it came time for dinner, I wondered if I should feed him.   What would he eat?   Google wasn't able to suggest anything, and some instinct stopped me from posting pictures online.   As I went to peer in the fridge and see what options there might be, I saw the other bath bombs.

No way.

But looking from them to my creature, now the size of a Shetland pony, I had to accept that some how my five-for-a-dollar toy and homemade egg, had hatched an actual dragon.   And I had no idea what to do with him.


What started it all:

Peter Gray Clinic with Argo

Those who've been reading this blog for some time will be aware that I have a history of riding somewhat dramatic horses.  They amuse me, what can I say?  Now I find myself with a bit of a dilemma in that I had a lovely weekend at a great clinic where absolutely nothing happened.   And that just doesn't lead to much of a story.  But I'm still being asked for said story ;)

For the non-horsey readers of this blog -- this one may be of limited interest.   Consider yourself forewarned :)

The smile pretty much sums up the weekend
The thirty second background -- after being grounded for two years thanks to the multiple eye surgeries, I started back riding on a part-time basis (3 days/week), two weeks ago.   In that time I've done one mini XC school which went really well, and two stadium jump schools -- both of which were moderately disastrous.   The horse I'm riding has a jumper background, with limited dressage or XC experience.  He is well past the young and stupid stage though and lovely to hack -- like a trail pony on a mission anyway.

So of course it'd be totally reasonable that I'd enter a two-day jumping clinic.   Why not? ;)

Day one started with an hour of dressage.   Our dressage still has a ways to go -- he definitely has the drunken gummy worm feel to him at times, our contact isn't as soft or as consistent as I'd like, and basics of suppleness and rhythm still need work.   But, he's super willing and coming along really fast (yeah hill work!) so I have hopes for us.   And fortunately what little we do have was sufficient for the requirements of this clinic :)

Then the jumping...   Our biggest issue jumping is that by about the third or forth fence in canter he grabs the bit and then we're out of control for the rest of the round.  Like audience watching with their hands covering their eyes kind of out of control.  We started with grids in the trot, and when the second fence went up he stopped on the first try.   Entirely too much work to get close to the base and push off -- much easier to throw himself at it with speed.   Lol.  Peter dropped it so we could get over it from the halt and life continued.   I honestly felt he was horribly behind the leg for most of the exercises, but Peter wanted me to leave him to it, so we did.  Jumps were all tiny sized so really no issue.   Grid ended up being a one stride to a couple bounces to a two stride and Argo had to work for it, but was behaving himself and landing reasonably under control.    Then we did a few different courses that all started with the grid, then would approach every line in trot but let them canter in-between.  He was awesome.  Calm and really rocked back (we stuck 7 strides in a 5 -- for which the comment was "you're really patient" lol).

While we never addressed the charging issue because we trotted every other fence, the line we put 7 in was riding in 4 the other day, so huge improvement.   I also felt vindicated because one of the first things I said after the first time I jumped him was that he needs lots of trot fences *g*.  Charging will get you over little ones, but once they start to get big, I suspect he'll hit the breaks.  Unless we build the strength and confidence first.   Also, I rode in jump stirrups for 2h and could still walk when I dismounted.  We're calling this a win.

Day two is XC!!!   Woohoo!!!   And basically I was grinning like a kid all day.   Kennedy and I went for a lovely trot warmup around the field -- fun start to the morning.   We started with walking over the ditch.   Now "ditch" in this case is really more of a terrain change.  So much so that it didn't matter when Argo chose to walk *in* it instead of over it.   Sheesh.  Ah well, at least it was drama free.   Over it and out over a little vertical, no problem.   The reverse?  Still no problem.  Awesome.

Onto the bank which again failed to provide good blog fodder as, while he was somewhat confused about the idea of walking up it, once we were allowed to trot or canter it all went smoothly.   Jumped a few little things -- I was pleased that he was at least pretending to listen to me when I asked him to come back.   Went and played in the water, jumping in and out over a little stadium fence.   Complete pro - lots of splashing and smiles :)

Pats for jumping in on the first try!
Did some work over a single barrel which took a couple tries, but really -- it'll be a very long time before I have another horse who comes close to Lexi's reaction to a barrel so gonna give that a win as well.   Jumped a course which I interpreted somewhat differently than Peter intended but which he then adopted for the rest of the group :).  hahaha win :).  And Argo was awesome.   Getting in super close to everything and looking at them all, but we canter a whole course with only very minor discussion about pace -- and never (to the best of my knowledge) scary.  I was pretty thoroughly pleased.   Would've liked to have done a little more and jumped some bigger fences, but at least it was 100% positive experience and Argo jigged his way up the hill going home all proud of himself.

So yeah -- was great to see some friends I haven't seen since my abrupt departure from the horse world, had ALL the fun riding XC after entirely too long, and am still able to walk today.  Win :)