Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Tag: Food (Page 1 of 23)

New Years Resolutions – Focus, Intention, and Purpose

2017 was freakin’ epic.  I finished an Ironman!  I did my first official century ride!  I went on amazing vacations and got a camper and spent a ton of time outside!  We redid our kitchen!  How the heck do you follow up something that crazy and grand?

By doing less.   Oh yes, by one hundred percent absolutely positively for sure doing LESS.  2018 is about doing less with purpose, intention, and focus.

This will be my junior year with Team Bicycle Sport Shop.  Looking forward to training and racing with them again!


I want to strengthen the bond between coach and athlete here.  Yes, I am that person in both aspects, so this will take myself being kind, patient, and firm with… myself.

As a coach, I will schedule myself like I was scheduling another athlete.  I will not put crazy sessions that make no sense on my list just to see if I can do them.  I will not fill my week too full without good reason.  I will consider both what the sessions mean to the athlete in the context of goals for the season and also what’s going on in life right then.  I’ve been coaching myself long enough to know how I operate.  I don’t do well undertrained, but I also need to watch my tendencies to want to do way too much and then disappoint myself by either failing sessions or burning out right before races.

As an athlete, I will HTFU this year.  If coach does her job and schedules things better, it is my job to actually complete the sessions AS INTENDED.  If I have 6×400 with a one mile warmup and cooldown, starting with drills and ending with stretching and rolling on my schedule, that’s what I do.  And, I’m going to do my best that if it’s scheduled for Tuesday morning, I do it Tuesday morning because I put the session there for a reason.

I feel like this will help grow my experience as a coach and also my confidence as an athlete.  If I could sum up my athletic goals in triathlon in a mission statement, here’s a go at it:

I am a strong, fit triathlete who is rarely injured because I have good stability from weight training and flexibility/form work.  I have the confidence because I complete my training sessions.  In races, I take that confidence and head close to the front of the pack in most races where it’s appropriate to start the swim, and I’ve closed the gap between my decent pool swimming and subpar open water form.  I continue to do well on the bike because I train and race with power goals.  I leave the bike and can now chase down people on the run.  As a coach, I will set reasonable goals for my athletes (me and Zliten), and include only the necessary training on their schedules to succeed.

Here’s this year’s plans so far:


  • Jan 22: take the little bit of training I’ve been able to do and see what I can do at 3M.  My new A+ goal is to PR.  With the paces I’m running, sub-2 is not reasonable right now, but my legs are showing some promise, so, on a really good day, I may be able to come in under 2:08.
  • Feb 3: do an ill-advised-but-it-will-be-fine 6 hour cycling event.  I’m here for the fun and to support the team and go camping.  I may not hammer this one but I know I’ll survive it.
  • Take at least a month after this with minimal swim/bike/run and get into the gym and lift heavy in preparation for the rest of the year.

Spring: goal is to get fit and then race a LOT of sprints to try to qualify to nationals. I want to shift my mindset at the shorter distances to actually racing for the podium vs getting my heart rate up.

Summer: cut off the racing with enough time to give myself an offseason before getting back to it for Nationals (if I make it) in August and then Cozumel in September.


Sept 30: Cozumel 70.3.  I have some outcome goals here.  First, sub-6:30 or better (PR).  Second, I’d like to finish far enough up in the results I actually go to the rolldown for Worlds (as a super longshot, I’ve heard rumors of people being in 20-30th place and getting it).  But honestly, I want to race this to force myself to figure out one of my biggest triathlon problems – I do not love hot weather but I’ve had my two best half runs in sweltering heat off of my two fastest bikes those two years (though I’ve also had some pretty critical explosions).  I need to figure out how to succeed in the heat, be it training, gear, or just HTFU’ing.

After this, I’ll make some decisions.  Ironman Waco 70.3 or Oilman last minute?  A fall half marathon?  Offseason?  I’m not committing to anything after Sept 30th.

You will notice there are no marathons, no ironmans, no century rides, no 10k swims on this list.  Will I haul off and randomly do a long bike ride because it sounds fun?  Probably.  But I’m keeping my focus (after Feb 3rd) on one thing: triathlon, and succeeding at the distance that my next race is at instead of random long base training for no reason.  I’m running the longest right now that I need to run all year and that is super refreshing to me!

Less of this face in 2018, young lady!

Human Being-ness:

As a human, I want to be a more patient and kinder person.  I feel like in relentless pursuit of goals sometimes I get a little snitty and self-centered.  I get annoyed by the MOST ridiculous things that shouldn’t even register on my radar.   I joke that I’ve gone from being a people person to an anti-people person – that grumpy 80s TV dad that just wants his underwear and his recliner and silence.  However, in going from a state of fluctuating between mega-maniacal (DO ALL THE THINGS) to burnout, I’m definitely finding human connection challenging to enjoy more often than I’d like to admit.

I actually like people.  I am actually probably more of an extrovert on the spectrum than an introvert.  I love random conversations, and I’ll talk your ear off and listen to just about anything with a few beers in me (i.e. – when I’m finally relaxed and not thinking about the next thing on my TO DO list).  Sure, I’m a little socially awkward at first with people, but I’m mostly comfortable in my skin as long as it’s not a “hi, will you be my friend” situation.  It’s that my brain is so far up inside itself thinking about what’s next and goals and achievements that it’s hard to focus on anyone else.

Yep, my problem is that I’ve become a bit of a selfish asshole.  The way I fix that?  By committing to less and really and truly being IN when I do commit.  If I can have more space in my life between TO DO, then I can actually enjoy these things instead of feeling obligated to do them.

Yes, I GET to have a great group of people in my life that want my time and attention.  I’m not burdened by it.  That is a very negative way to live and I’m going to leave that one behind in 2017 in the rear view mirror where it belongs.

If I had to pen a mission statement for this one:

I will do my best to be present in the situation I am in, instead of having my thoughts stray to the future.  If I’ve committed to something, I will give it time and attention to the best of my ability.  If I’m feeling overscheduled and overwhelemed, if I’m fumbling at life, I will take a good hard look at my goals and to do list, and I will prioritize until it feels reasonable.  I will approach social interactions as a pleasure instead of a chore.


It’s nice to weigh a little less than I did last time this year.  Obviously obsessively tracking my food and diet quality didn’t work.  I seemed to only make progress when I actually let go a little and ate… dare I say… intuitively.  I gave my body a break and trained INCREDIBLY minimally.  Or maybe turmeric is actually the magic anti-inflammatory bullet, so obviously I’m going to continue to take that.

So, obviously I want to continue to take steps back towards my race weight, but I don’t honestly have much to say here that’s revolutionary.  Just keepin’ on keepin’ on with what’s *slowly* working.

  • I want to continue (after a slight holiday feasting break) with my diet that’s at least half fruits and vegetables.  I feel the best when I’m consuming a diet high in plants in their truly natural form.
  • This is accompanied by making sure I continue eat my my normal breakfasts and batch cook my meals to get enough lean protein, whole grain carbs, and snack on things like almonds and pistachios instead of chips.
  • I want to limit my indulgences to ones that I truly enjoy and that will will be a fun and relaxing diversion from my normal.  For me, that means most of the sweets I get go into the freezer and I’ll dig them out once a month when I have a craving, but I’ll consume alcohol in moderation on Saturdays and there will be Desano’s Pizza or after long bike rides.
  • If not tracking, I will at least be conscious about what I put in my mouth is going to help me towards my goals or not.  It doesn’t all have to be positive diet quality (just most of it), but if it’s not, it should be for a reason and not simply because it’s there in front of me.


This is another place where my life needs focus.  My eyes are now open to all the things I want to do and learn after a period of just being happy existing as a game developer and triathlete.  But, in true form, I want to do and learn them all NOAW.

The last two years, I’ve had this giant, big, varied, scary to do list.  I was trying to be a jack of all trades, master at none.  I’m going to pull back and pick one focus this year:

2018 is the year I focus on becoming a published author of a non-fiction book.

I’m pretty sure that’s my mission statement right there.  Here’s the steps I envision taking next year:

  • Finish my book.  I have about 3.75 chapters left to go.  My goal is to finish the first draft by my birthday (or at least birthday month).
  • Put it on the kindle and read it myself.  No taking specific notes, no editing, just read it as if I was reading another author’s book it to see if it’s interesting.
  • Ask my husband for help with his dialogue.  I’m a fairly prolific writer with a lot of strengths, but dialogue is not one of them.  If you could, why not ask the character what he would say in those situations?
  • Edit chapter by chapter.  I know I need more environmental description and cues.  I can see and smell and taste and hear all the things that happened to me.  The problem is, the reader can’t unless I describe them.  I know I need to make things a little more cohesive because I wrote the chapters out of order (as in, don’t describe things five times, describe it once and go back and reference).
  • Get some beta readers.  Some that are familiar with triathlon, some that are not, to see if it’s interesting to either/both groups.
  • Become knowledgeable about the industry.  Read books and devour websites about publishing, editing, agents, and marketing your book.  Stuff like this.  While I want to know so much more about marketing in general, I’m going to take 2018 to focus on this slice of marketing.
  • Continue to read in the non-fiction genre.  1-2 books per month in between my pulpy sci-fi 25 book series that will likely never end…
  • If it gets this far… build a website for the book.  Contact publishers about the book.  Get an agent (or not).  This stuff is so far away and I need to learn what half of this means, but my goal by the end of the year is to have a finished manuscript I’m proud of and at least know where to go with it next.

The Lists

Here’s where I break my mold of focus and intentions, because I am me, and I am not doing away with TO DO lists.  However, I’m still trying to stick with the intention of planning LESS.  I’m trying to keep the first list reasonable. I am also trying to leave off a bunch of fluff so I actually do the things I really need to do, like actually see a financial planner for eff’s sake.  Focus.  Intention.

The second list should be FUN!  I will do these things as they sound pleasurable and enriching to me, not as TO DOs I need to check off.  These need to be things I GET to do, not that I *have* to do.  If my sewing machine stays hidden, that’s ok.  If I post weekly recaps because I’m pouring my time and energy into my book, that’s totally acceptable.  They are here simply to remind myself there are better ways to spend free time rather than Netflix and dorking on social media on my phone.

Now that this is done, we can do smaller, bite size projects.  After a break, that is…

Adulting List:

Yep, a lot of this is carryover from this year that didn’t get done.  Still want to do them.  Will try again.

  • Wills
  • Financial planner
  • Fix our occasionally around kitty stray
  • Organize our entertainment center and pantry
  • Build leezard a lounging platform she can’t knock her plate off
  • Probably some other small organizational projects that emerge as I check these off.

Mostly take the year off adulting because HOLY HELL we adulted pretty hard last year with house projects.  Actually taking January ENTIRELY off any sort of TO DOs minus the normal cooking, keeping the house to the point where the cleaning service can do their thing, and laundry.  I need a friggin break.

Fun List:

  • Resume monthly-ish game night with friends in February.
  • Camping! ‘Nuff said.  Especially in the spring when it’s nice out.
  • I love pictures but shy away from video.  I had a blast playing with it underwater, and I want to do short videos about random stuff 3x per week, if nothing else, posted in my Instagram stories.
  • More video games.  I’m serious about this.  I got Grand Turismo 5 for Christmas and we are going to stream “Drunk Driving Saturdays” (i.e., having a few beers and playing GT in the comfort and safety of my own couch) for a while and I want to actually feel like at least a casual type gamer again.
  • Vacations: Cozumel for the half IM and then a week of diving, family cruise in May, family trip to Port A or Galveston, maybe a long weekend in Chicago, maybe somewhere snowy (with the camper?) in the winter to cross country ski or snowshoe?
  • Painting… I’ve been having a lot of fun with minis but I also would love to expand to canvas again, even if only on camping trips.
  • More bike adventures.  I mean, the kind where it’s beautiful outside and we hop on the cruisers in the morning with backpacks and baskets and only have a vague plan for the day and coast back in at (or after) sunset.  I’m open to the other kind with clips and kits and friends as well, but I want to do more where the bike is just the transportation, not the focus.
  • Posting more interesting things besides weekly recaps.  It really helps me when I’m training towards a goal race, but other times it’s like… yep, rode my bike some miles, ran when I could be arsed to, ignored the pool and weight room, and ate, drank, and slept a lot.  You don’t care.  I’d rather write something else with focus instead of this being my glorified diary all the time.
  • Crafting.  I recently found my beads and I really want to spend some time playing with them and making new pieces (I did one over break, and I love it.  Moar!!!).  I would really like to get my sewing machine out long enough to be comfortable getting it set up and stitching things.

2018.  Let’s do this.  But not too much of this.  Because it’s the year of LESS.

2017 wrap up – an epic year of drive and exploration

I can’t let December 31st come and go without a nod to how the year went, so, without further ado, the tale of the year of freakin’ epicness which was 2017 shall commence.

One of the best moments of 2017.

A Race: Ironman Texas.

Done, and dusted.  It’s kind of amazing to have such a warm glow around a race with so many trials and tribulations during it, and one that you can envision literally taking HOURS off your time with a better day, but you only have one first IM and I’ll always remember it fondly.  Shit canal, Hardy toll road headwind, and wonky knees and all.

I envisioned it as the training being a means to a goal, and all the payoff being that day.  I actually really enjoyed the process, the journey, and I might have been just as proud of some of those long training efforts as I was finishing the Ironman proper.  But that red carpet moment was pretty effing awesome, don’t get me wrong.

Smiling because I did not at that point know exactly how close I had come to Nationals.

Also, getting your big goal race out of the way in April was kind of awesome.  I committed to nothing for the rest of the year and found out a few things:

  • I wanted back on my bike rather quickly and I set goals to ride centuries because they sounded fun.  So, 2017 organically became the year of the bike with over 3500 miles, very little of them indoors.
  • My run training went so well from Jan-Mar, and then everything went to hell, both with my body condition and also my motivation.  It was a very small mileage year with about 450 miles and I’m okay with that.
  • Swimming… eh.  Again, I did a lot to prepare for the IM and then all I wanted to do was ride my bike after.  Even during the summer.  All said, I swam 52 miles this year, so that’s not shabby.
  • Weights – I hit a routine for a while with bodyweight workouts over lunch but struggled to get to the gym to lift heavy most of the year.

I actually had two pretty decent sprint triathlon results at Jack’s Generic and Kerrville (let’s ignore the shitshow that was Lake Pflugerville 8 weeks out of an Ironman), which have ignited my goals to qualify for Nationals next year.

I also spent a lot of time really digging into coaching (got my cert) and psychology reading non-fiction triathlon books, and have started working on my mental game here (and will expand upon this in 2018).

Habits and Practices:

Full of washed veggies. And also cooked and eaten outside.

  • Facebook and twitter – I spent a lot of the year using them sparingly, and then I found some awesome triathlon groups on Facebook and found myself involved (but also wasting a lot of time on social media).  I’ve logged back out in December, and I think I’ll just have to continue to be conscious about the mindless and not-super-relaxing scrolling while watching TV.
  • I made a goal to stop rushing and fumbling with things.  I would not give myself a passing grade on this, and it’s kind of the core of my intentions for next year.
  • Washing my fruits and veggies – I would give myself a 98% on this one.  It’s one of those stupid things not to do and an easy goal to conquer.  It’s now habit.
  • I wanted to weigh less than I did Jan 1, 2017.  Check.  I’m about 5 lbs down, give or take, but that’s still something.
  • Beer January – check.  The rest of the year watching my alcohol portions?  Still something I struggle with – mostly because I have a large tolerance and it doesn’t affect me the way it affects most mortals.  One large slice of cake makes me ill, but I can drink a mess of whiskey and feel fine (as well as the next day).  I also enjoy  whiskey way more than cake.  But… neither of these things are great in large quantities.  The battle continues to control my portions next year.

I made some way-too-ambitious goals for self-enrichment and I think I learned from that for 2018.  If this was my full time focus, if I wasn’t also a triathlete and a wife and a daughter and a full time game producer and didn’t have friends, maybe I could have made more progress – but right now, all those things take priority over these.  And that’s ok.  It’s not my livelihood, its just something I’d like to pursue someday.

One of the best books I read this year…


  • Finish my triathlon coaching class and pass the exam – CHECK
  • After IM Texas, start researching some sort of part time or volunteer opportunity that will help me get some sort of experience. – NOPE.  Instead I rode my bike a lot.  Oops.
  • Continue to work on my social media plan for this blog as practice. Eh… I use hashtags on Insta.  I post occasionally on my AR facebook page.  I haven’t really been trying as of late.  It stopped being a focus and that’s ok.
  • Read some business books and other triathlon training books instead of JUST my pulpy sci fi. – CHECK.  At least 1-2 per month starting in the back half of the year.

Set Up

  • Write a business plan and figure out who I really want to reach and the services I want to provide. NOPE.  I’ve had some thoughts here but nothing concrete.
  • Create a website with all the bells and whistles it needs. NOPE. 
  • Start writing some book notes CHECK.  More than, actually.

(Big) Baby Steps.  By the end of the year I want to:

  • Have a website ready to go that can take people’s money and provide a service. – NOPE. 
  • At the very least, start providing a small service via fiverr or something similar to test the waters. – NOPE.  I decided this wasn’t a great idea until I really decide what my business plan is.
  • Have a published book (even if it’s just self published).  NOPE, but I’m getting close to draft 1 done, so that’s something!

Other Stuff:

Sunsets and stars outside were definitely highlights of 2017.

Game night – we had three and then our end of year booked up so fast we didn’t have a free weekend.  I’m really looking forward to reviving this next year!

Video games – I was really bad at this in 2017.  I wanted to list 20 that I played multiple times, and I can only do the games I work on, Clash of Clans, Dance Dance Revolution, Gran Turismo 5, Stardew Valley, Job Simulator, That’s You, and… errr… that’s it.  Oops.

Vacations: I didn’t do my reunion in Reno/Tahoe, and we chose Bonaire over a liveaboard diving trip, but I was super excited to take all these trips:

And, all the other things.  Did I mention I like goals?

Little stuff:

  • Hem/fix a few pairs of pants. NOPE.  2018?
  • Clean out both cars. CHECK (and then they got dirty again, funny how that happens…)
  • Take my existing extra hoka soles and cut them and put them in my less comfortable shoes. NOPE.  So easy, and not done.  Oops.
  • Appointments
    • Find a new doctor and get an exam – CHECK
    • Financial planner – NOPE (2018)
    • Bike fit – CHECK!
    • Eye doctor appt and exam (my frames are SOOOOO scratched) – CHECK!

Bigger Stuff:

I still have yet to do a full reveal but here are some fruits of our labor…

  • Clean out and renovate the office.  We were hoping to get to it over holiday break, but it didn’t happen. CHECK!!! This is where I’m writing this right now.
  • Figuring out a place to store (or a new home for) this other gaming table we have that is currently threatening to impale anyone that sleeps on the left side of our guest room. CHECK! (It’s right next to me)
  • Make the workout room a proper pain cave with a TV, computers and monitors for Zwifting.  CHECK – the trainers now live in the workout room and I found I actually enjoy music more than movies/screens so we’ve been rocking that (though I haven’t done more than an hour).
  • Figure out a more permanent solution than boxes and a blanket in a closet for the leezard (though she seems ok with it). NOPE – 2018.  She’s fine with it but her plate of salad falls over and makes a mess.  
  • As long as our financial situation seems stable, picking a renovation project (kitchen, patio, etc) and do it. CHECK.  Kitchen has like two things left on the TO DO list (to do later today).
  • Get a shed.  CHECK. 
  • I want to train myself to be ambidextrous on the bike.  NOPE.  Need to work on this one on the cruiser without clips first.
  • iFly.  NOPE.  At least they never expire…
  • Comedy tickets.  NOPE.  We went to a few shows but not enough to use up the tickets.  I gave them away as presents to people at work.  Oh well.
  • #goplayoutside – CHECK.  The camper and being a crazy cyclist really helped me spent a lot of time outdoors.  The last two months (between cold weather and kitchen renovation obligations) have been driving me nuts, but I know playing outside season will come back again and I’ll be out there.

I usually do this thing where I try to distill the year into three words and I’ll do it again.

2017: the year of turtle home, for sure…

Epic.  I mean, yeah, this word is overused, but my first Ironman, riding so many bikes, buying a camper and spending almost three weeks in it in the second half of the year.  25+ hours underwater back in my happy place in Bonaire.   Tri coach certification, finishing a kitchen remodel and a lot of other fairly major house projects, and eeking out 3/4 of a draft of my first novel.  SO MUCH THIS YEAR.

Explore.  I feel like I got to know my town better, biking over what felt like every inch of it over and over.  We camped SIX times in the span of four months in the camper.  I hit the water in five different countries this year.  I also explored the inside of my grey matter a bit pushing myself through Ironman training and racing, and then working on my head game in for Sprints.

Driven.  I felt a pull this year like no other year to really expand my goals beyond being a triathlete.  I’ve wanted to write a book for over half my life and I finally started it.  We’ve been talking about redoing the kitchen since we moved in.  We’ve been talking about Ironman since we started triathlon.  While there are a lot of things on my list still to do from this year, I checked off, or at least started, some of the real big ones.

Hope you have a happy New Year’s Eve, and cheers to a fabulous 2018!

What’s your biggest 2017 accomplishment?  Share in the comments, since goals make me unreasonably happy!

I heart Bonaire.

I love what I do for my job, most of the time.  I love triathlon, like, a lot.  I love camping and spending time playing in the woods.

The face of a happy girl who’s been in the water all damn week.

But I’m pretty sure given the choice of doing anything in the world, this would be it.  I’d wager that a condo within steps to the beach with filled scuba tanks ready and waiting for me whenever I feel like diving under the sea to the most beautiful reef I’ve ever seen would be my first choice 99% of the time.  Diving days are the best days, and when every day is a diving day, it’s like my own personal paradise.  Even the days we didn’t dive were filled with multiple hours of snorkeling, which is sometimes even BETTER.  Some of my favorite pictures and moments came from those days.

A “day to day” of where I snorkeled and dove and ate isn’t going to be that interesting of a story, so I’ll just give you a best of the best.

Diving Locations:

I’ll be honest, there are hundreds of places to dive here, and we’ve hit a very small sample of them, so I can’t give you a cohesive review (yet), but in my narrow opinion, these are the TOPS.

Just breathe.

Bari Reef is my home.  We just happened to stay there on our first trip, and now I never want to stay anywhere else.  It’s beautiful, it’s diverse, and turtles live here even if the house octopus shunned me BOTH trips so far.  We did half of our dives at this one location.  Sure, it’s convenient, but I also stand by my statement that if we could only dive one place, it would be here, and I could dive it four times a day for a month and not get bored.

Sunset on the pier.

Salt Pier is my second favorite dive site in the world.  We drove down there twice early in the week, because I wanted to dive it multiple times, but it was closed (one day there was a salt boat, the other, construction), and then when it was finally open, it took up two of my last six dives of the trip.  The setting is gorgeous even above the water, the background of the thick steel pipes accentuated with coral growths and pops of darting fish.  Also, you always see unique things there.  Last time, we hung out with a giant turtle feeding in four feet of water.  This time, two squid became our friends and hung out while we shot a bunch of pictures and video.  They’re usually so skittish and run away quickly, so it was a treat!

Let me give an honorable mention to Invisibles and Sampler.  Sampler showed me my first (TWO) seahorses.  They’re so tiny!  The were amazing to see, but very difficult to photograph since we had a big group of divers and I only got a few “proof” shots, none that were in focus.  Invisibles had a trench in the first reef that lead you to a second, deeper hidden reef (thus the name Invisibles).  This was the first dive in a while I actually had to watch my nitrogen levels and I was wishing for more time below 60 feet.  I guess it’s time for Nitrox certification so I have that option.

Things I want to hit next time: 1000 Steps.  Last time, Zliten was less than a year out of his bear fight resulting in three leg fractures, so we didn’t want to chance the entry.   This year, we wanted to hit it, but with Zliten getting sick, we didn’t want to walk ALLLLL the way there for potentially a 5 minute dive that we’d have to abort (and then haul a full tank ALLLL the way back up).  Next time, we’ll hit this one early, maybe first dive on the second day.

Underwater moments:

The Bari reef turtles are our homies and we love them.  We saw at least one of them almost every day.  However, two encounters stuck out in my mind.

Wednesday, we were snorkeling, and one of our turtles came to the surface to check on us.  It was breathtaking to float next to him and watch him breathe for a bit and then descend again.

Goodbye, Bari.

Friday, during the last few moments of our last dive, we found one of our turtles under a rock.  He swam and lead us to the other turtle as they danced at the surface for a bit, and then went their separate ways.  We followed the smaller one back to it’s home (it had anchored itself under a rock), and I waved goodbye to it and it literally waved back, I think it was actually mocking my movement because when I stopped, it stopped.

I always say Octopus are my spirit animal (spirit cephalopods, whatevs), but the squid contingent are definitely vying for that place after this trip.

At Salt Pier, we encountered two very large squid that after careful approach, didn’t run away.  We got really close and they were curious about us and our cameras.  I’m used to getting close enough to get a blurry “proof of sight” picture and having them dart away, so it was awesome to get a ton of in focus pictures and video until we swam away, not them.

Squid buddy!

Then, the next dive, at Corporal Meiss, a pod of squid surrounded us and danced – flashing different colors and waving their fins.  We had jumped in there quickly after lunch instead of a planned dive, since we heard there were octopus in the shallows.  Well, they dissed me, and the rest of the dive was pretty mundane, but this made me day.

Our second to last dive at Something Special, I met the next top Angelfish.  This fish was my little superstar.  While these guys aren’t always shy, this one just came up to my camera and would. not. leave. me. alone.  I had to keep backing up to get it’s whole body in the shot.  This is one of my favorite videos (still working on that part but here’s a shot of my favorite angel).  This fish make me laugh out loud and almost lose my regulator.  It was awesome.

My little superstar angel!  I’m pretty sure he would have followed me home if it was possible.

Honorable mention is literally every other moment snorkeling and diving.  Most of these happened the last day of diving.  If that day never happened, I’d have some almost equally amazing memories from other days hangin’ with seahorses and eels, and other turtles and spotted drums and scorpion fish and the little bitty things Zliten points out to me to photograph.  Every dive here is amazing.  Snorkeling Bari could keep me amused for a week straight.  I spent 25+ hours underwater in 7 days for a reason and I’d be right back there now if I could.

Things we missed that I’d love to see next time: we didn’t see any rays, those darn sneaky octopuses, and more seahorses for Zliten

Food highlights:

Diving is the primary objective, food is always secondary, but suuuuuuper necessary.  Diving for 4 hours a day is probably the equivalent to riding bikes for the same amount of time in terms of calorie burn.  I ate SO MUCH.  However, you don’t travel to Bonaire just for the food, but there are some amazing things to eat, and it was hard to narrow it down…

Between Two Buns has to go on this list.  It’s a sandwich shop, it’s only open until 3pm, and the line is always out the door and I don’t think you can pick anything bad on the menu.  I had the Mona Lisa the last day of vacation, which is a salami, buffalo mozzarella pesto, pine nut, peppers and onions sandwich, and it was pretty top notch.  But, I will say that the burger is the best thing there I’ve had so far.

Rum Runners at Captain Don’s needs to be mentioned.  I had one of the best BBQ chicken pizzas of my life as a late lunch one day.  When I returned the last night of the trip, the only reason I didn’t get it again was that I couldn’t bear to throw out the inevitable leftovers.  Instead, I got some chicken pasta that was also to die for.  Last time, I obsessed over their fish fajitas.  I’m also pretty sure the scenery makes the food taste better, as you can watch giant tarpon play in the water from your table.

The Cactus Blue truck was our lunch stop on Monday and Friday.  We had a curry burger and then their specialty, Lionfish burgers.  They are open 11-3pm and they run out of Lionfish EVERY DAY, even with 16 hunters supplying the fish.  I was excited to try it because it was a novelty, but they were honestly EXCELLENT and worth the wait.

Honorable mentions:

  • I had an excellent chicken curry sandwich at a hot dog, ice cream, and peruvian food joint.
  • Breezes and Bites was the restaurant in our complex.  We ate there a lot out of convenience, but they also had pretty tasty food.  They had some delicious fresh fish catch of the day plates (I ate two) and the garlic shrimp was heaven.
  • Our kitchen: we got a pan of lasagna at the store that lasted two dinners and it was so nice to just chill on the patio and not worry about getting dressed in actual clothes.

Things I want to try next time: there was a vegetarian Indian place down the street that sounded awesome.  Honestly, if we had two weeks instead of one, I’d like to take some more time and check out a wider variety of restaurants and check out some of the nightlife downtown… but with our short time there, honestly, it was just getting fuel for the next dive.  On our walks, we found out the complex has some grills and I’d like to make use of them next time.

Things we did not in the water:

Watching the sunsets.  Sometimes we took them in just after (or before) surfacing for a dive, sometimes relaxing with beer on the beach, but Bonaire sunsets are pretty divine.

My husband, the Iguana whisperer…

Feeding the iguanas.  At first they were skittish, but once they learned that we would save our fruit and veggie scraps for them, they would actually follow us around.  We named them.  There was Wild and Crazy guy, Little Shit, Zliten’s best friend, Red Dewlap… they were our friends.

Taking pictures of the property.  This place pretty much photographed itself and it couldn’t help but be stunning.  This is now the lock screen on my phone and I get a little Bonaire every time I look at it and it makes me happy.

There were a few imperfect things about the trip:

The travel there is not terribly convenient.  I mean, it’s no Australia, and it’s better from Austin-Houston-Bonaire than some places where people were taking four or more connecting flights, but it’s still a 13 hour travel day end to end because of the inevitably long Houston layover.

Zliten caught a cold partway through the trip.  We thought his diving was done for the trip on Tuesday when he couldn’t even get below 15 feet because of sinus congestion.  We tried failed a few attempts on Tuesday before we gave up, and spent Wednesday snorkeling instead.  However, due to handy advice from the internet and dive friends, he went and found some heavy duty meds (Aleve D – a mix of two aleve and two sudafed in one pill) and by Thursday afternoon he was resurrected and did six more dives in a day and a half.   He was an interesting person to be around (sudafed makes him crazy) and I think he borrowed against feeling better quickly since he’s still recovering, but I’m pretty sure he’d say that it was worth it.  Also, he was an AMAZING spotter while on sudafed,  He found all the things.

The last day, while snorkeling, I lost one of my lights on my camera rig.  No idea how it came off and even scouring the area for another 30 minutes, I didn’t find it.  It’s not cheap, so that stinks, but at least it was the last day.  It’s the least important thing on my set up to lose, and it’s only money.  I didn’t lose my memory card or anything.

All in all though, no big deal.

If you’re interested in more oceans, sunsets, yummy food, and selfies, click on over and check out my Facebook album.  I’ll be adding videos too when I figure a few things out.

This trip really solidifies my desire to own property there someday.  Yeah, I say that a lot.  I’d have 10 different houses if I could and maybe that’s actually how I’ll end up retiring someday.  However, this place feels like home.  The ocean in my backyard.  The ability to freely, on my schedule, without a hassle, take a hundred steps from my back door, and be in the water and under the sea gives me immeasurable joy.  Palm trees.  Iguanas.  Beautiful blue sky and ocean.  This is my happy place.  I heart Bonaire.

2018 has other plans (Cozumel), but we’re already tentatively penciling in another trip in 2019, and if possible, for two weeks this time.

Where is your vacation happy place?

November wrap up, December goals

Well, it’s now December.  The last month of 2017.  Holy crap, that went FAST!

Fast, unlike the trot of turkeys I did on Thanksgiving.

Let’s talk about what didn’t happen, because it’s kind of a LOT.

  • Swim at least twice.  (I swam ZERO yards.)
  • Ramp up running (at least as much as I had envisioned November 1st)
  • 8 Strength sessions (I think I did… two?)
  • Eating healthy food every day but Thanksgiving
  • Tracking my negative diet quality calories.  I did some days, but fell off after we started remodeling.
  • Finish the Carl Sagan book.  I’m at 70% – I’ve had to do this one in 10% chunks between my other books).
  • Finish 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  I’m halfway through and could power through it in a night if I wanted, but I’m actually enjoying reading one section at a time and absorbing it.  So, I’ll try to finish it this week.
  • We did not make it to a comedy show.  So I really need to figure out what to do with my 7 pairs of tickets because that’s a lot to do in one month.

While usually I’d be bummed about admitting all this, not this month.  My body has appreciated the break from formal training and has enjoyed just generally being active a few hours a week.  My give-a-shit is at full capacity with the kitchen remodel and wrapping up work for the year.  Here’s what I have accomplished:

  • I wrote two chapters in my book.  Admittedly enough, I had two random days off, and those were the days I did it, but hey, small victories.  I am now at 8.5 chapters of 15 planned, so I’m over halfway!
  • We went camping and had a lot of fun at the tri series party.
  • I launched one major update at work and am a few days from a smaller one.
  • And, most importantly, we have finished like 95%  of our kitchen remodel.  Which is all the bullet points I need to feel good about what I’ve done or not done this month.  When I wrote my To Dos last month, I seemed really concentrated on the logistics, not realizing EVERYTHING that went into the actual doing.  I basically spent the second half of November painting things while everyone else did the harder stuff.

Holy crap, y’all, it’s a usable kitchen!!! …even if it needs paint and a backsplash and some other stuff…

I’m actually happy to have had the experience.  Would I do it again?  Yes and no.  Doing the cabinets ourselves mostly just took time and having done it once, I would be *ok* trying to do it again if we weren’t under a huge time pressure.  Paint and hardware, no problem.  However, our in-laws replaced all the drywall and did the electrical and the plumbing (changing where the sink and dishwasher were) and I would DEFINITELY not have taken that into our own hands.

I also do not regret paying people to do the counters.  Like, one bit.  They were 3 hours in, out, and on with their lives and apologized to me that it took so long.  No. freaking. problem.

So, while there’s still some minor cosmetic stuff to do, we’ve got a fully functioning kitchen and our house is relatively clean (and will be completely back to normal by the middle of this week).  That’s a huge relief.  I was pretty good about that through most of the process, but when we unpacked the last box yesterday, I felt so much more relaxed, much more than I realized.

So, December.  Last month of the year!  This month is about wrapping all that up and returning to a bit of relaxed normalcy in terms of training, eating, and life.

Let’s talk training. 

My cycling miles have gone from hundreds to tens.  Like last week, I think I literally biked 10 miles.

For sanity’s sake, the OFFICIAL schedule resumes mid-month because, reasons, but from now until then my goals are:

#1 – build up my run miles and start incorporating a little speed 1-2 times a week.  These can be little fartlek sections, track intervals, but I need to start seeing some 9s on my watch in small doses.

#2 – resume strength training – 2x week, even if it’s just a Oiselle dozen or 15 mins of pushups and random stuff, I need this habit back in my life.

Everything else will come later.  I miss the pool.  I miss playing bikes for hours on end.  I miss lifting heavy.  But right now I’ve got a bit of the run love back and I’m excited to nurture that!


I give myself about a… B- for nutrition last month.  I am so glad I cooked up so much healthy food – we ate almost everything, minus one soup I’ve got thawing for tomorrow.  During the weekdays, we ate reasonably well when we were eating at work.  However, at home, on the weekends, we definitely reverted to pizza (twice) and italian sandwiches on french bread and some other super yummy but admittedly junk foods to keep everyone fed and without prep or cleanup.  I don’t regret it at all, but I remember one Saturday thinking that my intake for the day had been a kolache and four slices of pizza and a small salad.  Not my normal eating patterns for sure.

My official weight average this month is 184.1.  I weighed 24 times so it’s a pretty good average.  That’s -1.2 lbs down.  As frustrating as this slow going progress is, it’s still progress.  And I know because this morning, when I weighed 184.7, I was like, ack, that’s up a bit.  Last month this time I would have been stoked.  I’m really hoping I can see a 170-something number this month, if I made it through Thanksgiving and a remodel with a weight loss, surely I can make it through December with the scale continuing to be my friend, right?

So, I’m making the same goals this month as last month.

  • I will track all negative diet quality foods for this month starting today.
  • Exceptions: vacation, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Eve.  Vacation, I’ll be diving too much to gain weight, and I’ll allow myself those other days to celebrate and not worry about calories or the quality of my food.  Every other day is normal healthy eating because these are the holi-DAYS, not holi-MONTHS.


Hoping to get back to more of this in December!

December is a good month progress here because I’m off work for most of it so I can actually do stuff but also have time to relax.  Last year I powered through a lot of my triathlon coach training.  This year, I hope to make a bunch of progress on my book in a similar fashion.

I have 7.5 chapters left.  I would like to knock out at least FOUR of them.  I have five days off while Zliten is at work, and I’m giving myself one of those days where I just can’t even and not making any progress between Christmas and New Years.  If I can get more, great.  The overall goal: it would be a nice birthday present to finish the first draft by next March.

Finish all the little kitchen things and get my house back to it’s normal organized chaos.  What’s left:

  • Bolster kick plate on the peninsula so we don’t need extra tile
  • Fix tile spots
  • Backsplash
  • Touch up cabinets
  • Paint walls

I have a little bit of organizing I’d like to do with the spice rack and pantry but that’s all future goals.

Write a personal mission statement.  In reading 7 Habits of Effective People, I see a lot of things I do well and a lot of things I could do better.  Establishing a core set of principles in an easily distilled statement I can refer to when I’m making decisions in all aspects of life sounds like a good idea.  While my husband kindly brought up that I sort of do that on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis, I feel like crystallizing words around who I aim to be is a good exercise.  Of course, this also includes coming up with 2018’s map and plan like normal.

We get to go back to one of my favorite places in the world!!!

Figure out how to travel lightly.  For this vacation, we purchased BCDs and regulators for diving (they cost only double the gear rental fee for just that week and we’ll never have to rent again).  However, that means our scuba gear now takes up most of two large suitcases and the camera equipment takes a small one.  We are going to have to travel REALLY sparsely otherwise.  Good thing four swimsuits, two pairs of shorts, a few t-shirts, two pairs of sandals, and a cover up doesn’t take much room (but I need to limit it to pretty much that).

Take my annual facebook/twitter break.  It was mentally necessary last year.  This year, I’ve found some awesome groups to be a part of, so these sites don’t stress me out as much as they did last year this time with all the political BS, but I still .  It will get logged out on my phone the day I leave for vacation and I’ll limit myself to it when I’m in front of my actual desktop for a while.

Play some GAMES!  This is usually the month I actually get a chance to lose myself in some video games and I really am looking forward to it!

Catch up on my reading.  Finish Carl Sagan, The 7 Habits, and choose at least two more – probably the 4 hour work week and Bedtime Stories for Triathletes, but I also just bought two running books that probably would make sense to read while I’m training for a half marathon, not to mention some new fiction I’m looking forward to… ah, the life of a hangry bookworm.

I’m looking forward to enjoying another month of THIS beauty we put up yesterday…

Relax.  I have 24 days off work starting at 6-ish PM on Friday.  While I’ve made it through a little less haggard than I have in some previous years, I definitely need some time to recharge and become a patient, pleasant, and kind human being again.

Happy December, everyone.  What’s up in your neck of the woods?  Fun holiday plans?  Heading to a tropical destination? Netflix and PJs? Becoming a ski instructor for the winter?

Progress and Thankfulness

I’ve been looking at this kitchen remodel like a long race.

Somewhere between the proverbial start line and the first few hundred meters of the swim (picking up the cabinets).

I’d say right now, I’m mid bike.  Not quite sure if I’m over half way yet, but close.  I’m far enough in to feel a little fatigue, but there’s a lot left to go.  The process is actually not been too bad, I honestly think that playing “helper” to people who know what they’re doing is the best possible scenario.  If it was contractors, I think I would be impatient and antsy (well, MORE impatient and antsy).  If we were doing it all ourselves, we would be SO overwhelmed.  For example, we’re putting crown molding over the tops of the cabinets to cover up the fact that they’re a little uneven.  I would have never thought of that, but I’m happy to help paint and hang it up!

So, it’s been about a week.  Last we spoke, everything was torn down.  I’m actually thrilled that went as quickly as it did because once that happened, there was no turning back.  Apparently, according to the in laws, it was the easiest demo they’ve ever done and I think they had fun doing it. 🙂

Garages are not for cars this week.  They are for painting cabinets.

The last week, in my world, was about two things: fighting off decision fatigue to make smart choices I won’t regret later, and painting all the things.

I was super excited to put together a kitchen exactly how I wanted it until I actually had to put the kitchen together!  I had procrastinated picking out a lot of things because a lot of shops are only open when I’m at work and also I think I was a little intimidated.  It was stressful (#fwp) because I was thinking about:

  • Resale value.  I’m not saying I want to move any time soon, but I also don’t think I’m going to live in this house until I die.  I never want to do this again so I’m making choices that are not so bold I’ll have to rip them out to list the house.
  • Personal style.  Conversely, I’m not a tan and light wood finish kitchen person.  I wanted to chose things that make me happy and excited.
  • Price.  I went into this making sure I didn’t cheap out on the crap that mattered, but I also know that the 2800$ quartz counter we picked out (and actually fell in love with) is just as awesome as the 7300$ quartz counter that was our other choice.  Similarly, I don’t need the 350$ faucet I loved when I found one for 199$ with a slightly different curvature but almost the same.
  • Smart DIY vs Stupid DIY.  We can paint and hang cabinets and put on hardware and save money on the labor.  However, I started to get greedy when I was able to purchase 4 granite slabs for about 400 bucks.  After a day or two I thought better and returned them (except one I’m keeping for a bathroom redo next post-Ironman season, heh).  Our quote is about as cheap as the granite + tools and supplies we’d need to do it, and they’ll get it done in one day and they guarantee their work for life.

But, I got through it and I think we made good choices.  I fell in love with the clearance backsplash.  We found an amazing deal on some quartz counters.  When I asked the guy for what his cheapest quartz was to get a baseline quote, he said we had picked it out (and it was #1 on our list).  Once I had both of those, we were able to finally pick out cabinet paint (the day we actually started painting…).  I picked out a faucet, and then when they didn’t have it in stock, found one cheaper that I liked just as much.  We found the microwave we wanted 40% off.  Everything is going so well!

Anyone else love Moulin Rouge as much as I do? 🙂

I was still worried that losing our apple green accent wall would make me feel all sad and plan.  I like black and white a LOT.  I’m super excited about what’s going on there.  But – I am a bright bold color person at heart.  I can’t say that I didn’t think for a second about the gorgeous RED SPARKLY granite counter.  However, the amazing and wonderful Zliten nudged us into getting a hue system as part of the remodel, and I am in love with my disco kitchen already and the cabinets don’t even have doors.


The only hiccup was the cabinet place left two of them off the order, but Zliten’s parents are local and were able to pick them up earlier this week.  They were out of what we ordered, but we were actually get a better configuration than we had picked before.  Definite lemonade out of lemons there!

So, at this moment in time, we’ve painted everything that can be painted right now.  Today after work, we’ll hang the top cabinet doors.  Then… we’re kind of at a stopping point until the family comes back on Friday to work, so we’ll have Thanksgiving completely off (I figured we’d come home and be finishing something up).  Wheee!

I have a list of everything that’s left to go, and while it’s long enough to freak me out, most of the surprises should be over.  Most of the decision making is over as well.  We’re down to good old fashioned work and I’m ok with that.

In other news…

Yay running without my heel feeling like it’s going to fall off!!!

I’m RUNNING AGAIN!!!  It’s not 100% pain free yet but I actually ran for an hour (5.4 miles) and then spent the entire day on my feet working on the kitchen and it didn’t set me back at all (felt fine the next day).  I ran three times last week and will get in 2-3 times this week and then hopefully ramp up a little bit starting next week – still 3 times, but extend the weekday runs closer to 45-60 mins and the weekend run a bit past an hour (75-90 depending on how I feel).

I’ve been neglecting my bike and the pool.  I’ve been doing some lazy weights workouts sporadically.  It’s ok.  I’m certain I’ll get back to it soon.  I’ve got 8 weeks ’til 3M and while that kind of freaks me out, I’ve gone from offseason to a 70.3 PR in that amount of time, so I’m sure it will be NBD.

My body has actually been thanking me for taking an effing break.  While it’s slow going, my weight trend line is going down.  While I’m not training regularly or tracking my food.  During the holiday season.  I’m not sure what’s up but I won’t question the magic.  I would say I’m about 2 lbs away from where I raced Austin 70.3 last year, which was incremental goal #1.  If I could set a goal right now, it would be to see 170-something on the scale before December 31st.

While I have not been tracking my food (or even the negative diet quality score foods like I said I would), I have also been attempting to keep it all reasonable.  I am super thankful that I cooked up a storm to have healthy food available, and it’s been a lifesaver.  However, there were some days that I couldn’t bear finding a place to plug my microwave in or digging out the scrub brush to wash out a dish and we got takeout.  When we had the family here all weekend we got bbq and pizza and sandwiches to keep everyone fueled.  I would give myself about a C, but apparently that’s a passing grade right now, so I’ll go with it.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I’m thankful for my life, even if it’s a little hectic right now, it’s also full of so much awesome.  I’m thankful for Zliten, family, friends, triathlon, scuba diving, that my kitchen will someday soon be in fully finished disco mode, and that I have a job that lets me afford to do all this.  And probably so much more, but for now, I’m thankful that I have a long weekend and I need to see about starting that right about…

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