Here there be dragons...

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

Why not?

So while I'm still really enjoying 9 Round, I'm very aware that it does nothing for flexibility.  And recently starting to realize I'm losing what very little flexibility I ever had - particularly my hips and my hamstrings.

I am aware that yoga might help this, but so far I've hated every type of yoga I tried with a passion, so  convincing myself to go to a class in my limited free time when I'd rather do pretty much *any*thing else -- seriously, cleaning the dog crap out of the yard ranks higher in enjoyment value.   And, because I've never managed to do it consistently AND I'm completely inflexible, doing any home-based program, like the MANY I have access to through BeachBody (of P90X3 fame), is not going to get reasonable results.  And again, I'm unlikely to stick to the program.

So I thought okay...  I have to do something...  A real program is out...  And the rest of me is still moderately flexible.  So let's find something that's reasonable and focuses on target areas.

Introducing the 30 Day Split Challenge!

Lol jk.  Well, only partially.  It IS, in-fact, titled "journey to splits" but I have zero belief/aspiration/intention, of achieving that.  Even for she who takes on ridiculous challenges, that's a little much.  I could never even do them as a bendy little kid.

BUT - what do you need to do the splits?   Flexible hips and hamstrings...   hmmm - pretty target area.  So I did some research and found a zillion options to learn to do the splits, and eventually one that I thought might actually address my specific challenges.  So this is 30 days, about 10 mins / day. You do exercises 1-5 every day (1 min each side), and then one more.  So on day 6, you do exercise 1-5 + 6, on day 10 you do 1-5 + 10, etc.  

Care to join me?
About the only real rule is EVERY day.  And from the couple reviews I read, this is important ;).  Okay - I can follow 30 days.   Some of the pictures aren't quite as clear as I'd like (eg - is that foot straight or on an angle?) and a three of the days have exercises that essentially ARE splits, so, well, suffice to say I won't be looking anything like that ;).  Meh, she's wearing pink yoga pants, it's a pretty safe bet I won't be looking like any of them *g*. But for instance, 5 and 10 are the same exercise.  5 uses a cheater band and is currently about my level.  I don't see any chance whatsoever that in 5 more days I'll suddenly be able to do 10!

I do understand that stopping at 30 days and not continuing to do *some*thing for flexibility will completely undo any progress made -- future Lauren can deal with that ;).  I'm well aware that I work well in bite sized challenges *g*

So anyways - day 1...  All good.   Sure the ego takes a hit with just how inflexible I am.  And it definitely raised questions about the movements -- slight shifts change what hurts dramatically.   But as all the hurting is in places that need to be more flexible, I'm not being too picky ;).  But I could mostly do the exercises and when I was done I was done.   Ditto for day 2.  But on day 3, my hips hurt through the day.  It took till stretchy time (which for me is after work) for me to put the pieces together.  Day 4 I was dreading a little -- mostly cause I was sore most of the day.  Not something wrong sore, similar to gym sore except literally in my hips which is not an area the gym really targets.  Hmmm arguably knowing that is what set me on this in the first place, but apparently there's a difference between knowing theoretically and knowing intimately ;)

Day 5 is tomorrow.  I'm definitely feeling it, which tells me something is happening.  I've quite happily deluded myself into thinking it's clearly positive change ;).  The goal is to be able to roundhouse kick the big round bag at the gym (last time that was an exercise I could barely do it on one leg with zero strength and not on the other.  It's was pathetic)

So I'll check back in later and we shall see.  Since I took zero measurements of any time, this will be a pretty subjective assessment on my part ;)

Spanish Adventures

So while lounging by the pool in Costa Rica, I’ve been continuing my Neverending Story adventure in Spanish.  Now usually I have my phone or computer for easy clarification if required.  Here, I had only a dictionary - and was loathe to use it.   Most things can be figured out to some degree with context (or deemed completely unnecessary as in the details of the description of somebody’s appearance) or are confusing in a way that the dictionary won’t clarify (who’s doing what to whom is somewhat a bit of a question mark in my current capabilities - usually I can figure it out but not always, esp without my notes).  

But today I gave in.  There was one word and through no context could I figure it out.  But it was clearly repeated multiple times and often in the context of a name, but not capitalized so not a name...   Finally got frustrated enough to look it up: sphinx.  Lol not feeling so bad that I couldn’t come up w that one.   I didn’t remember there was a sphinx in that story lol.  But the rest made way more sense once I had that piece.

Descriptions are a nightmare though w limited vocabulary.  I know how to say someone is fat.  And I would recognize the word to read it.  But how often would that actually be written?  Oh no - he’s big boned, or large, or round, or rotund, or heavy, or can’t see his shoes because of his belly, or pregnant, or ...   those are a whole lot of words for the same thing...  and he didn’t just say, he grumbled, grunted, mumbled, whispered, sighed, yelled, shouted, screamed, screeched...   Again - on dedicated days I look some of these up and my vocabulary is slowly growing.  On beach vacation days I accept that the message was conveyed and don’t worry too much about how ;)

Other things I’ve learned on this trip - not only is my reading vocabulary lacking but so is my basic life vocabulary.  In need of toilet paper for the room I asked the maid if we could please have more bathroom paper - since I have no idea what it’s actually called.  She gave me a puzzled look, but figured it out ;).    Similarly I remembered the words for fork and spoon but drew a complete blank on knife - I’m sure you can guess which piece of cutlery I needed ;).  Also, no idea how to say cutlery?!?!    Various other things along those lines.

Did manage conversations with the grill guy and a cashier entirely in Spanish w accurate results, so that’s good.   Given enough time and patience on the part of the listener I can find ways around my vocabulary - eg, I apparently don’t know how to say knife, but I can say ‘the thing you cut food with’ lol.   Also - I learned what vocabulary I do have is a mix of Spain-Spanish and Americas-Spanish.  And the two are not always super interchangeable so I get some odd looks from time to time. 

My evesdropping - uh listening skills ;) are also improving.  Some are too fast or speak in a tone (accent?) that I can’t catch at all, but the vast majority of the conversations I randomly overheard I could understand at least most of, so I was pleased w that.

Ah well - I’m pretending it’s improving ;).  Slowly.

Enjoying every minute

It's our last day :(.  While I am looking forward to returning to eating a little more normally, I'm not ready to return to cold or work.  Ugh.  Finally feeling super relaxed and happy, and now time to go home...

Otherwise though, it was a super nice day.   Chris and I revisited our massage friends - if you happen to be down this way, Juanita and Carlos are the people to talk to :).   Was not a bad start to the day.  Otherwise bounced around in some waves and spent the rest of the day at the pool :)

Pretty civilized really :)

Monkeying around

An absolutely lovely relaxing day of nothingness today.  

In the morning we went down to the monkey bar to take pics of the monkeys.  I love the ones w the white faces!!!  So many of them - some even Mom’s w babies.  Super cute.  I admit I was a horrible human and fed them some fruit (generously donated from an equally horrible human).  Only fruit they could acquire themselves (eg pineapple) but still...   coolest feeling for them to come down from the tree to take it.   Also really enjoyed watching the athleticism as they monkied around the trees :). Many many pictures of this once I get around to uploading them ;)

Me being bad tourist

Otherwise we pretty much spent the day at the pool, with the occasional trip to go bounce in the waves of the ocean - which is about the same temperature as said pool.  All kinds of civilized.  Also, update - a Blue Hawaiian is a piña colada w blue curaçao and rum (which I get is part of the piña colada, but that’s how they described it).

Went to the Italian restaurant for dinner tonight.  Had some really amazing lasagna :).  Not sure what made it any different than normal, but yummmm 

Chris wasn’t feeling great this eve so I left him to early bed and went to the evening show of Grease.   The same as all resort versions of Grease *g*.  Moderately amusing, but if you didn’t know the actual story you’d be so lost...   Lots of our group was there though so that was fun :)

Great relaxing day :).  And those monkeys were so much fun!

Happy Anniversary to Us :)

5 years ago today, Chris and I were married :).   

We found this in our room; I added the sunglasses :)
Today we celebrated by being seriously anti-social and keeping the day for ourselves.  We took a water taxi into Coco Beach and wandered around looking at touristy stuff.  Got Chris some coffee :). All good.  Coming home, the taxi guy told us to sit and have a beer since it would be a while -- and then I saw the boat was pulling away!   Lol he went down and waved them back; I felt bad everybody had to wait for us, but when I went to go on time we were told not to!  

Lol when we did manage to make it back, we hung out by the pool, but away from the rest of our group -- although we did visit briefly with our moms :).  Sea turtles are being cared for in a habitat on the beach and a sign went up saying they’d be released at 5:30 so went down to watch that.  Not nearly as cool as seeing them come up out of the sand of their own volition but still fun - and this time I had my camera w me ;)

Dinner was at the steakhouse where we’d had our reception.  They DID honour our reservation so I was pleased at that.  Although dinner itself was meh.  There was an angry raccoon demanding his toll.  Chris dumped a glass of water on him earning a Tucker-worthy glare.  A second glass of water convinced him to move on...

Overall a really nice anniversary:)

A moonlit beach

It was a stunningly gorgeous night for a walk on the beach.  High twenties with a slight breeze.  The full moon and cloudless sky made  a flashlight completely unnecessary.  The sand - black and too hot to walk on barefoot by daylight, was cool, soft, and white by moonlight.  Bright enough to see footprints and critter tracks, avoid the occasional stones, and admire a sand-art self portrait.  

As we got farther from the resort the sound of the crashing waves drowned anything from the resort, and the scent of campfire wafted gently.   We passed two or three campfires along the beach - locals enjoying their Saturday night.  But no noise or other lights so it only served to enhance the atmosphere.  

The foam from the crashing waves drew white lines on a dark ocean that were almost luminescent as they crashed on the beach.  Standing in them, the water was cool for the first few crashes and then lovely for the rest of the walk.  

It was the kind of night that spurs belief in magic and the fantastic.  There’s no doubt the fairies danced on the waves while the mermaids plotted murder and mayhem.  Perhaps a dragon cast an occasional shadow flying in front of the moon...  on these kinds of nights, it's entirely possible...

Water park adventures

Started the day off with a beach massage that was amazing.  Spent some time in the pool w my brothers and w Cameron (and all respective significant others) so that was kinda fun.   

This afternoon we went over to the water park -- a short walk from the hotel, it's included in the stay.   It's small, but in good condition and had zero lines so that was a ton of fun.  Have some good pics from that one, but need to get them off my camera still.

This eve we tried to go to an a la carte for dinner but despite lots of empty tables visible apparently there were no spaces :(.  A couple of the restaurants were booking an hour out and the others not at all.  Fail.   We did at least manage to convince one to let us make a reservation for our anniversary tomorrow - the same one where we had our reception for the wedding.   Really hoping that actually holds :)

Unbelievably stunning walk on the beach to finish the eve.

New friend

Snorkelling this am was really nice.  Once I reacclimatize to breathing under water it’s so quiet and peaceful and the fish of all the colours are almost hypnotic to watch.  I was definitely the last back on the boat ;).  The guides were great and pointed out some things I otherwise might not have seen.  I also had my little camera with me, but haven't pulled the pictures off yet :)

This afternoon we went ATVing.  And, well, I think I’ll stick to horses ;).   It was great to go through some backroads though and get to see some of the country.  Also splashing through the water was all kinds of fun - at least once I realized that unlike horseback riding, hanging on with your thighs here is a Very Bad Idea.  Ow.   Lol.  But omg so dusty.  So incredibly dusty.  Trying to get the gunk out of my eyes was worse than removing cheap mascara.   Part way through we stopped at the grocery store for beverages etc.  That’s the only time I’ve gotten to actually use any Spanish so far *g*

Also, after the trip I met absolutely the cutest, snuggliest puppy after...   my heart melted.

Just the cutest

ALL the relaxing

Was a lazy pool day today -- perfect after the last week.   All kinds of relaxed and civilized.   

discovered a new drink today - the Blue Hawaiian ;).  No idea what’s in it, but it’s blue, frosty, and can’t taste the alcohol.  Pretty perfect.   

So there was a catamaran excursion that I wanted to do till I saw the price -- $100USD?!?!   Uh no.   But the whole reason I wanted to go was to go snorkelling (ears are very clogged so no diving for me).   Went to the dive shop, and sure enough - snorkelling option.  Booked snorkelling for tomorrow at the much more reasonable price of $30 :).  AND it doesn't take half a day.   Lol also, I was pleased that I could follow the conversation the staff were having between themselves in Spanish trying to sort it out ;)

5 Year Reunion Tour :)

We're back in Costa Rica!!!  Win :). 17 of us travelling on this trip (parents, in-laws, brothers and their SOs, aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends :).

The flight in was uneventful.  No food included which was disappointing but otherwise all good.  We paid for an upgrade to slightly more leg room that made for a more civil flight.  Going from the airport to the hotel we had a private bus for just our group.
Got a good laugh at the name ;)
Since it's a touristy area, there's far less practice for my Spanish, but otherwise all good.

It's about 35 degrees and sunny, so that's awesome :). I feel like this should get rid of the last of my lagging cold pretty quickly.  We're at the Riu Guanacaste, which is the same resort where we got married.   It's a little more tired, but still definitely nice, and spending the afternoon by the pool was all kinds of civilized.

Off to buffet dinner...