An American Soldier

I’m traveling for work this week, and meetings have landed me in Washington, DC until early Saturday morning. I’ve only been to DC as an adult one other time. Last year, Mars and I came up here and hit the tourist attractions hard. We walked pretty much non-stop for eight hours one day with only a twenty-minute lunch break to eat a hot dog from a vendor on the Mall. We were good travel companions and really maximized our two and a half days that we had here. Because the Universe is a funny thing, I am staying in the exact same hotel that we stayed at last year. As I walked around the hotel and neighboring area today, I was flooded with happy memories of us, and it made me mourn the us that is no longer. It’s funny how healing heartbreaks can sneak up on you like that. But, I won’t dwell on that anymore. I’ve got two days packed with work ahead of me so I don’t have time to wax nostalgic about a past trip with my former love.

One of the places that was on my list of things to see was Arlington National Cemetery and we did not get to it last time. So today, my flight got into town a little early, and I had some down time. I checked into my room and then set out for the metro. It was warm, but I was pretty smug that I could handle the heat being from the South and all. I was ill-equipped though. I didn’t realize how large the Cemetery is. I also had on a black t-shirt and jeans. I was roasting by the time I climbed the first hill. I climbed this hill at a very clipped pace because I (mistakenly) thought it was the location of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and I was trying to make it in time for the changing of the guard. It was not and I was not in time. I was huffing and puffing and sweating profusely. Some kind fellow-tourist offered to take my picture. I told him that I didn’t want to scare anyone with the picture since I was so sweaty and my hair was turning into a sweat-soaked mess. He was persistent though so here is the photo.

 

I quickly found my bearings and found the correct location.  As soon as I approached the tomb, I no longer worried about the sweat dripping freely down my back, or the blisters forming on my chocoed feet. I got to witness a memorial ceremony for the Cleveland Air Guard. Taps was performed, and I cried. What an incredibly emotional and inspiring place. I have always had such respect and gratitude for those men and women who serve our country, but what a poignant reminder of sacrifice that some heroes made. The tomb reads: “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God” and it touched me being in that place as the guard changed and the wind softly blew. Thank you to all our nation’s service men and women. As I approached the cemetery I saw that the flag flew at half-mast, and I remembered anew the horrific events that unfolded in Chattanooga, TN – a place I called home for four years. I definitely felt many emotions in Arlington, VA today, but I’m very glad I went.

 

 

 

 

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A Lesson in Body Security

I’m pretty sure everyone goes through periods where they hate things about their bodies. I know that I do. For years, I would let my body insecurity get the best of me. I was so self critical of how my body looked and how I didn’t look like most of the other girls in high school. I would worry about wearing shorts because of my big thighs, and I could never ever (and still to this day struggle to) wear those super cute knee-high boots that were always so popular and are still. Up until 8 months ago, I wouldn’t be caught dead with bare arms outside of the gym. Less than 2 years ago, I wouldn’t even wear tank tops to the gym because of how my bingo arms looked flapping around in Zumba class. I let my body insecurities define me. I still struggle with this from time-to-time. Most of the time I don’t wear shorts to the gym because of chaffing and riding-up issues more than insecurity, but the insecurity is still there.

 

However, it is time for me to get over this fear of being active in shorts. This fear that every single person in the universe is staring at my flappy thighs and cellulite craters. My legs are strong, and I should be proud of them. I play kickball, and I bought some cool knee-high-gym socks to wear while playing (your ankles get shockingly dirty without them). They say “thick chick” on them. I have another pair that say “deadlift diva” on them and are magenta. I bought them from SoxBox and a lot of people wear them to the gym. I’ve had the deadlift diva ones for a while, and I’ve been too chicken to wear them to the gym with shorts. My legs look terrible in them. But, I know that I will want to wear them to kickball, and I need to get over the fear of my legs offending the public if I go out in these knee-high socks and shorts. Last night, I made myself wear them to the gym. It was an example of “fake it till you make it” mindset. I was not confident in those socks. I didn’t feel strong. I didn’t feel awesome. But after I started my workout, I felt all those things. While wearing those socks, I completed a new PR for deadlifts at 115 lbs. I completed my workout without worrying so much about how I looked. I survived. No one laughed or pointed. I’m not embarrassed anymore. Now I can’t wait to debut my kickass socks at kickball on Sunday. I’m ready.


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Date Day

I decided that today I would have a date with myself. It’s been a while since I have had some active alone time. You know, alone time other than lying on the couch, binge-watching the Gilmore Girls. I’m talking about the alone time that can sometimes be hard after a break up. The going forth into the world kind of alone time.  The kind that pits you against all those smug coupled-up people. Yes, I know I’m being a tad dramatic (who me? Never!), but when you’re fresh out of the relationship box, it can feel that way. So today, I decided to hop back on the active-alone-time horse and do some stuff that I’ve been wanting to do.

 

This morning, I slept late (till almost 10am) which was really nice since I’ve been on the go so much lately. I haven’t had a lazy morning in a while. However, I didn’t really stay in bed too long because I decided to go see the 11:15 showing of Ricki and the Flash. As I pulled into the movie theater, I saw a man walking alone toward the front. Oh how nice, I thought. He’s going to see a movie alone too.  Nope, he was meeting his lady at the front of the theater where they linked arms and walked in. Then I noticed that several older gentlemen where alone and purchasing tickets by themselves. Cool. I’m now part of the old-man movie-goers club. I get my ticket and walk into my designated theater – not a single loner. Although, one woman might as well have been by herself because her husband was already asleep next to her before the movie even started. What a waste of five bucks. It’s actually not bad going to the movies alone, and I enjoy it. However, like I said, alone time has been more difficult lately. The movie was good, and I only got teary eyed once.

 

Next up on my dating agenda, some writing time! Yay! Unfortunately, I don’t make enough time for writing. It usually gets tossed so far down the to-do list, I often don’t get to it. I need to be better about this. But, today is my day. I don’t care about laundry, or packing for an upcoming work trip, or exercising today (rest day). I left the movies, and drove to my local Starbucks. And here I am, writing to you lovelies. After I finish up this post, I plan to write some additional chapters in a fiction piece I’m working on (sadly, I have been since 2008). I’ll stay here for as long as I want and then go home and prepare a nice dinner of baked squash and bacon-wrapped chicken.

 

So go out, and do something you haven’t done in a while, or something you do all the time. It’s a beautiful day to enjoy being happy. I’m working on it. Promise.

 

P.S. As I finished this post, I somehow attracted a new friend even though I’m wearing headphones and staring intently at my laptop screen. An older lady who apparently recently broke her back. She told me that she really liked my computer and asked me if she could lift it. An odd request, but I obliged. She was amazed that she could lift it with one hand and that I ordered it online. Luckily her man friend returned from the bathroom, and I returned to my writing. The whole encounter was just odd.

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The Brozelle Machine

Last night, I discovered a new exercise machine at the gym. I have never seen or been on a machine like this. It’s kind of a hybrid stair stepper and elliptical (if you know, please comment below with your knowledge). The foot pieces are suspended by resistance bands/straps and then there are handles like an elliptical. Depending on how you stride, it can either operate like a stair stepper or an elliptical. Very interesting.

The reason why Watts and I call it a “Brozelle Machine” is a few weeks ago, we saw these two very masculine dudes riding on them.  They looked like gazelles gallivanting through the savanna of Africa! I’ll be honest, these two dudes looked pretty majestic. I turned to Watts and she turned to me, and at the same time we blurted out gazelles and started laughing. Watts dubbed them brozelles since, well, they were bro gazelles. Like, duh. Now every time we see those two guys at the gym, we say “hi brozelles” under our breath, probably not so quietly. We’re totally mature.

Last night, the squat rack and benches were all full. Oh the humanity! Instead of just standing there gawking, I suggested that we get in some cardio until something opened up.  So we walked over to the cardio equipment area and I saw the brozelle machine. “Let’s do this!” I practically yelled to Watts. We jumped on and away we went. We kept exclaiming confusedly to each other. “How does this work?” “What is going on?” “It’s so bouncy!” I kept laughing hysterically (and loudly), and at one point I accidentally yelled a “Yeehaaawwww!” Pretty embarrassing. It was full-on weight-room ruckus up in there with us two. However, the machine was pretty fun, and as I was having fun, I really got my heart rate up there. Even though I made a fool out of myself, I did it in the name of fitness.

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A Case of the Mondays

If you follow the blog Facebook page (and you totally should – check out the right side of the page if you don’t), then you probably saw where I posted about having a case of the Mondays.  I’m really frustrated right now because I’m experiencing some set-backs.  2015 seems to be a very injury-prone year for me, and I have not made progress in the past two months. Wait, I take that back.  I have made some progress in lifting heavier, but that’s about it.  I am frustrated. But instead of giving up, I’m going to rededicate and refocus. I found this poem that I wrote back in 2008 so today, I dedicate it to all of you who are struggling like me. Life is full of ups and downs, and all we can do is get back up and try again.

 

Today my Life Starts

By: Kaycee Wolf

 

Up this mountain, I will climb,

To the top of the hill, one more time.

I’ve been here before only to fall,

Looking at the world and hating them all.

Down into the depths of despair and hell,

Wondering what went wrong and on negativity I’d dwell.

Cutting myself down, so scared and selfish,

Telling myself, if I only had one wish,

It would be to live life healthy and strong

And then I would wonder where I went wrong

But now I realize that life is full of mistakes

You live and you learn and you should never wait

So now I start again with a new world view

I love me, and I love life too.

I can conquer the world and stand up tall,

So I climb again and brace for the fall.

But this is different, this time I can

Forever, my life, is in my hands.

The future is mine, to shape and to hold

No longer looking in on life, standing out in the cold.

This time is different, I know in my heart,

This time is different, today my life starts.

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