Failing Spectacularly

Many years ago. I was a college kid trying to do something. I don’t remember what it was. It was well within my reach, but I was scared. My memory is usually like a sponge so I’m not sure why I can’t remember. I think it’s because it didn’t matter what it was. The important part was what Cary said to me about it.

“Make a giant goal. Go for it, and if you have to, fail spectacularly!”

He’s wise, that man of mine.

So that’s what happened with the August challenge. I didn’t just fail, I failed spectacularly! When I started making the list for the challenge I got a bit crazy. All my goals were well meaning, but I didn’t really take life into consideration. In the month of August I will have worked 148.5 hours which is an average of 38 hours per week. That’s SO MUCH for an interpreter. I know you all think I just wave my hands around, but trust me, it’s more than that. Plus those 38 hours don’t include the time it takes to schlep all over Chicagoland to get to my assignments. Bottom line, I was busy and didn’t plan that challenge to mesh with busyness.

There were times when I would think, “If you don’t go work out, you have to tell everyone reading that you didn’t go. That you failed.” This thought didn’t motivate me at all. That’s how tired I was. Sometimes I would even think, “Ryan is taking steps to QUIT SMOKING! And you can’t get your ass off the couch to do a 30 minute stretching routine?” My response was usually something along the lines of “Good for him, I’m freaking EXHAUSTED and going to bed.”

I am surprisingly OK with my failure. Mostly, because I have the ability to change. I can adapt to my hectic schedule, now that I know what to expect. I have to. I have to train for Tough Mudder! 

September is looking just as jammed if not more-so. I will fit in my work outs, I will make time for friends. Which by the way, is the one goal I did not fail with! I LOVE my friend dates and will continue to do that every week. I’ll continue to make crazy goals, even at the risk of failing spectacularly!


Ben Konowitz, larger than life

So my friend Ben Konowitz at has been raising TONS of money for two little girls who were in a horrible car accident this summer. They’re both going to have piles of medical bills!  He offered to do ANYTHING you want, ANYTHING for a donation of $20 that goes directly to the family. You can see videos of things other people have challenged him to do on his website. They’re definitely worth a look!

The owner of Ladies Fitness Zone in LaPorte challenged Ben to come and Jazzercise with us on Saturday morning, in leg warmers and tights for a donation of $50.  He accepted the challenge.

This is the before picture of Ben and Janet (our AMAZING Jazzercise instructor)

As you can see he did not have leg warmers and tights. He couldn’t get to them in time because of some road closures Saturday and they probably wouldn’t have fit because his legs are like tree trunks.

Before we began he needed to choose which weights he would like to use. They range from 1-10lb weights.

He chose the pink one pounders. A smart choice!

He did pretty well during the warm-up, although I looked back after and he said “That was the WARM-UP?”

The following is a video of the song after the warm up:

About 20 minutes in I turned around and noticed he was dripping with sweat.

After that song was finished our class manager got concerned about him.

Janet then told us to grab our weights, to which Ben cried out “WEIGHTS?!?!” He must have forgotten the little pink weights we picked out. Janet warns everyone that they might want to use a weight one or two pounds lighter than usual because this routine is pretty difficult.

Those are ten pound weights.

That’s some pretty fantastic form. So good in fact that one of our other instructors, Jan, told me she thought he should go on the stage. So I led him to the front with his fancy 10lb weights. After two moves by Janet, Ben realized he was out of his league

He went running for the pink one pounders.

He made it through the entire hour. He did a fantastic job, even if this is what he looked like after:

Notice that Janet looks just as gorgeous at the end of the hour, as she did at the beginning!

I’m thinking his eyes are closed because he’s basking in the glory of having these amazing women all around him.

There’s a sign outside of Ladies Fitness Zone that says “You will never, EVER, regret a workout.” That is truth. When Ben came in, a woman on the elevator asked, “How are you today?” He responded with “Regretting every decision I’ve ever made.” I don’t think he felt that way when he was done! He has raised So much money with all these crazy challenges. We’re all super proud of him.

I titled this blog “Ben Konowitz, larger than life” because he really is. His zeal for life is contagious!

And he’s single.

I’m constantly hearing about how there are “No good guys left!”  BULL! If you want a date with a truly genuine guy (who doesn’t necessarily give himself enough credit) talk to me, maybe I can hook you up. *His hair doesn’t look like that all the time, he’s growing it out for Locks of Love.*

Thanks Ben for helping us start our Saturday morning with a laugh and for your unyielding commitment to these little girls!

Summer Bucket List Revisited

It’s back to school time which means summer has ended for many. BUT NOT ME!! I usually count summer as June thru August. This year I’m going to follow the actual season and say that the end of MY summer will be September 21st. I’m mostly doing this because I made a Bucket List that I have largely ignored! But here is the updated version:

1) Ride the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel at night
2) Go to Silver Beach in St. Joe Michigan
3) Ride the carousel in St. Joe Michigan
4) Take my niece Abby Jo somewhere overnight
5) Go to the cabin in Eagle River Wisconsin
6) Go to ANY water park, preferably Deep River
7) Strawberry Picking
8) Read a minimum of 10 books (Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Me Talk Pretty Some Day, Rosemary’s Baby, The Haunting of Hill House, Flowers in The Attic, Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Hell House, The Kitchen House, 11.22.63, MWF seeking BFF)
9) Take the dogs to the beach
10) Take the dogs to the dog park
11) Continue to lift weights 3 days a week (I’ve had a few setbacks with this but mostly I’ve been doing it)
12) Become a certified Jazzercise instructor (This will be done at the end of September, maybe I’ll make a fall list)
13) Make Strawberry Jam
14) Can all things tomato
15) Finish my front/side of the house landscaping
16) Win the summer slim down competition
17) Get down to 140lbs regardless (crap! I really wrote this??)
18) Get pregnant
19) Visit friends in Mishawaka
20) Visit friends in LaGrange
21) Take a dear friend with me to the beach in New Buffalo some morning.
22) Mudderland 5k

I’m actually doing MUCH better with this list than I thought. However, finishing this as well as my August challenge will be difficult.

BTW the August challenge is going well but I seriously underestimated my work load. It is the most wonderful time of the year, when work for interpreters is PLENTIFUL! We celebrate this, however, sometimes our systems go through a bit of a shock. Exercise is the last thing on my mind when I start my day at 5:45am. I’m still planning to power through.

Conversation with my husband today:

My cell phone rings and I see it’s Cary

Me: Hey sweetie, whatcha doin?

Cary: Having an epiphany at work.

Me: Really? About what?

Cary: I’m reading the wiki page on my personality type INTJ, it’s amazing! It even talks about how I’m an extrovert at work, while being an introvert in other social situations.

Me: Wow! I had an epiphany yesterday too! It was about The Wizard of Oz.

Cary: Um…Ok

Me: You know when The Scarecrow sings “With the thoughts, I’d be thinkin’, I could be another Lincoln, if I only had a brain”? Well Oz isn’t America, they don’t seem to have some sort of presidential system or knowledge of America, so how can he even know who Lincoln was??

Cary: Ok, I’m gonna go read more about your personality type so I can try and figure out what just happened there.

Me: Good luck with that!

This challenge stuff ain’t no joke!

I realize, 7 days into this challenge that for me, blogging every day is impossible. To those of my friends that do it, even if it is at like midnight, I’m impressed. By the end of the day, after keeping track of everything and making sure I’ve followed through, I’m SO tired! I’m not witty, I’m not funny, I’m not inspired, I’m just exhausted!!

However, I’ll try and post the highlights every few days. You know, the fun parts. Like this pic I sent to my super sick pregnant friend:

She’s sick from like morning sickness, not because she’s a twisted individual. Although, she did enjoy this photo, so I guess that says something about her…

The intermittent fasting is going well. I’ve done a great job sticking to my calories, even at my mother in law’s 60th birthday party!

There have been some surprising things though. I think I’ve mentioned my love for raw milk. Unfortunately I’ve switched to skim because it fits my Macros much better. Here’s something else I’ve learned about proportions:

The amount of milk I should drink 8oz

The amount of milk I would rather drink! That’s a big freaking difference!

I had my first friend date last night. It was wonderful. I realized that since August started in the middle of the week last week I would have to double up this week. So I have another one on Friday. This might be a habit I try to maintain forever. Meeting with a friend once a week is just good for your soul.

I’m realizing that I might not want to print my daily pictures. Sometimes they fit perfectly for this blog but why would I want to keep them? Or where would I put them? Like this one:

See it’s appropriate because some days the only thing getting me through this challenge is willpower.

But if I print it and put it in an album, one day my (currently unconceived) child, will ask my while thumbing through old photos “Mom, why do you have this picture? Don’t you know there’s 50 gazillion of these motivational sayings on the interwebs? Why would you want an actual picture of it?” and then I’ll smack them in the mouth for getting smart and calling the internet the interwebs. HAHA! Just kidding…sort of.  This next one, however, could be valuable information for my future children:

This is a cat pee bush

We discovered these on our vacation in Canada. We were dining al fresco and we kept smelling cat urine. We then found that the source was this particular kind of bush. No, a cat hadn’t peed on the bush, that’s just what these bushes smell like. It turns out they also grow in La Porte! See…valuable information!

Regardless, the point of taking pictures and printing them is that I have SO MANY pictures on my phone and on other cameras that never get printed. These memories are easy to lose because of this. All it takes is one accidental toilet bath for my iPhone and POOF! I’ll continue to take a picture every day, but I’m only going to print the good ones.

Not eating at restaurants has been relatively easy. Tonight, I’m going to go buy wings with “my own” money. That’s right! I’m EATING WINGS! I budgeted them in my calories!

Working out 6 days a week has been accomplished. The only problem is, I’m a moron.
And by that I mean I decided not to work out yesterday and that it would be my “one day off” for the week. The dumb part is, WHO TAKES A MONDAY OFF? I now have no other option but to work out every day this week. This is where the willpower will definitely come into play.

I have no idea how to end this post.

But this is pretty much the only reason I run:

From a Christian who loves people

I lay in bed last night with a heavy heart. I asked Cary: “What if you had married a more traditional Bethel type girl?” puzzled he asked what I meant.
I responded “You know, a submissive, Suzie homemaker type girl. How would your life be different?”
He answered with “I think my life would be boring. I like that you’re motivated.”

If I’m honest with myself, I was asking him, “What if you had married someone who kept her mouth shut, was less opinionated, and stuck with the status quo Christian beliefs of Fundamentalists. Would your life be easier? Would mine?”

It’s pointless to ask these questions. I am, who I am. My husband loves me for it. That’s all that matters right?
I wish that were true. I walk a fine line between my “Christian” friends being irritated with me and my “Liberal” friends being irritated with  me. I’m so concerned about offending someone (a trait I gained in my late 20’s, not a trait I cared to have before then), anyone, that as soon as I write something I instantly second guess it.

Yesterday I posted on FB: “This is America. You have the right to be a bigot. You also have the right to support or not support bigots. Choice is what makes this country great.” A bunch of people liked it and it started an interesting conversation with a friend of mine that I’ve had many-a-heated dialogue.

I woke up today with a friend who had posted: “…pretty sick of hearing about how this is America and people can believe whatever they want and that’s the great thing about living here….” there’s more to it than that, but that is the part that struck me in the gut.  I’ve been talking about how evil Chic-fil-a is for years. I had a friend who got all excited with the idea of opening one and I was the only one who said “No, they’re a homophobic operation that boarders on evil.”  yesterday instead of taking that stance, I took a stupid patriotic stance.

The problem is, Dan Cathy’s statement was the tip of the ice berg. This is not about gay marriage (as my friend’s status clearly pointed out) this is about…life.

I’m pro people, I’m pro love, I’m anti-hate.

Chic-fil-a  participates in hate.  I’m not saying his statement about marriage was hate. (you can make that decision on your own.)
The following link explains a bit more about how they participate in hate.

Please read this link. As soon as you click on it, some of you will be annoyed with the title, I beg of you to get past that and read the post. Especially you pro-lifers. Being pro-life should not just be an abortion issue, it should be about VALUING LIFE! Anybody’s life.

My venture into stunt journalism

There’s just something exciting about doing something for a specific period of time.

Whether it’s taking a year to cook through 524 recipes, following the bible as closely as possible in your everyday living, or going on 50 friend dates.

A year is a LONG TIME, which is why I’ve decided to do a challenge for a month and see how I fare.

So for the month of August, here’s the breakdown:

~Everyday in August I’ll be sending one fun text message or e-mail in an effort to make someone smile. Interested? E-mail me.

~I’ll be going on 1 friend date a week. So if you’re reading this and thinking “We haven’t gotten together in awhile” pull out your calendar and e-mail me a date. I’m willing to travel.

~Take one picture a day and print them all at the end of the month.

~No restaurant meals from our joint meal budget. Cary and I have a specific amount of money we each get every month for “blow money” (This is not money reserved for cocaine..although I guess it could be…) It’s money we don’t have to answer to the other person for. So any food we consume away from each other, comes out of this cash. This month there will be no eating at restaurants unless we decide to use our “own” money. (For some reason I’m having a really hard time explaining this, which  makes me think I need to have a future post dedicated to how we budget)

~Track our spending. I do a pretty good job with this typically but not great. We coordinate Financial Peace University (which you should take! It’s a 9 week course starting Sunday August 5th at 12:30pm) and it’s great motivation to stay on top of our finances.

~Six days a week I will be exercising in some way shape or form for at least 30 minutes. It will probably be a mix of Jazzercise, power lifting, and walking the dogs.

~I’ll be intermittent fasting.  Basically that means I’ll be fasting 14 hours a day and eating my calories during a 10 hour window. I eat 1350 calories on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and 2000 calories on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays (also known as power lifting days). I’ll be attempting to consume over 100grams of protein per day. I won’t be following my eating window on Wednesdays because I have book club at 6am at a place where I like to eat. I will be sticking to my calorie allotment.

*Note* Before I get a bunch of comments about how it’s “unsafe” or will slow down my metabolism or any other litany of garbage, save it! This is what I’m doing. I’ve researched it, I started doing it, it works for me.

I’m going to attempt to blog everyday, even if it’s just a short list with check marks and my picture for the day.

It will probably look something like this (but more fun I’m sure):

Monday August 1st

Penny is “helping” me grill.


~Fun message or e-mail: Sent my crazy busy friend Robin a meme she’ll think is funny. I’m assuming…since she hasn’t responded yet.

~1 Friend date per week: Pending

~One picture per day: See above.

~No restaurant meals from our joint meal budget: I made dinner tonight but just realized something. I think I’ll take the money we were told to spend at Chic-fil-A and donate it to State Street Food Pantry. You can too if you click that link.

~Track our spending: Done for the day

~Exercise at least 30 minutes: Power lifted. I’ve had to back down my lifts because of an injury so it’s mildly embarrassing to post these stats but here goes:

Barbell Squat:
65lbs 5reps (warm-up)
95lbs 5reps 3 sets

Overhead barbell press:
35lb bar 5reps (warm up)
60lb 5reps 3 sets

95lbs 5 reps (warm up)
120lbs 5reps

~Intermittent Fasting: I followed my eating window. I still have a few hours left and quite a few calories to consume. If anything I might have a hard time eating all 2000 calories. My appetite isn’t great this week.


All this info will be at the bottom of my blog posts. I’m excited to share my progress with you all. What can you challenge yourself with this August?