10 things that Theresa did this week instead of blogging

PACKED THE FUCK OUT. One of the awesome things about having a job that requires me to move around the world, is that the job will actually move me around the world. The movers came, boxed up everything, and took it away.  See you in Jerusalem, worldly goods!

COMFORTED A TODDLER. Jasmine is freaked the fuck out about the disappearance of all her stuff. We’re trying to make it easier on her, but she misses her indoor playground (I DO NOT MISS HAVING A SLIDE IN MY LIVING ROOM).

WAS INATTENTIVE AND MY WALLET WAS STOLEN. It was the least awesome thing ever. Also, terrible timing. However, the credit card companies were superbly helpful in getting the fraudulent charges removed. Now I just have to get a new drivers’ license. Maryland requires you to know your drivers’ license number to order a new license online. IT WAS STOLEN I DID NOT MEMORIZE THE NUMBER.

FINISHED A WORKOUT FIRST. On Monday, I finished a CrossFit workout before anyone else. All that talk about “this isn’t about ego” went out the window for about 30 seconds, and then I remembered that I still can’t do a push-up. Fuck.


WRANGLED WITH L. To be fair, I brought it upon myself. I asked State’s legal department (“L”) about the rules around FSO blogs with affiliate links, sponsored posts, and reviews. L was, of course, very helpful and very clear in their answers. Briefly, in order to earn revenues from the blog, I need to treat it like a business, with all the rules that FSOs have to follow in regards to owning businesses. Fuck that, says the junior officer who doesn’t have tenure yet.

ATTENDING ENDLESS MEETINGS. Actually, my consultations with Consular Affairs (CA) have been absolutely fascinating. I liked ConGen 1) because CA training is hyper-organized and organized people are MY people and 2) I am a data nerd and CA is ALL ABOUT DATA. I won’t know until I’ve been at Post for a while, but I suspect that I am going to LOVE consular work.

ONE ON ONE COACHING AT CROSSFIT. So … I’m leaving. And there’s still some stuff I want to learn.  I’m doing three hours of one-on-ones with one of the coaches at CFSA this week to learn the last couple of Olympic lifts on my DC bucket list. It’s kicking my ass.  Which is the point, I suppose.

BOUGHT SWEATPANTS. I bought the first pair of sweatpants I’ve owned in years (since college? maybe before?). Sometime in the last few weeks, my dire need to NOT BE COLD while running beat out my dislike of unflatteringly thick pants.

TRIED TO UNLOAD A LOT OF BABY GEAR. Seriously, do you know how hard it is to get rid of a carseat and unused formula? We are going to put it outside with a sign that says “free,” but if you need a carseat, some formula, or a exersaucer AND you’re in the DC area, shoot me an email.

Diary of a Fat CrossFitter – CrossFit didn’t suck yesterday AND THAT WAS WEIRD

burpees_suckCrossFit didn’t suck yesterday.

That was weird, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.  I’ve gotten into this mental thing where if I don’t leave thinking that OMG I AM SO TIRED AND THE WORST EVER AT CROSSFIT, then I feel like I should be working harder.

In retrospect, that’s pretty silly.  I should be working smarter, not harder.

Burpees are still my kryptonite.  I did pretty well on the strength based movements (light deadlifts and DB push presses), but damn.  DAMN.  Is there a way to get better at burpees without just practicing burpees?  If I had moved as well on and fast during the burpees as fast as I did the lifts, then I would have nailed the workout.

So conditioning work?  Just a couple of dozen burpees a day?  Damn.  Damn.  Damn.  I hate burpees more than I hate people who don’t answer their email, and that’s saying a lot (which is also hilarious, because you know who’s bad at answering her email?  THIS WOMAN RIGHT HERE).

Two and a half weeks to get as much out of this box as I can before leaving for Westminster, then Jerusalem.  I have been surprised at how sorry I will be so say good-bye to this particular box.

What I’m Reading 11/3/14

Introducing the Awesome Ladies Creative Team

Kristin has put together an amazing group of Awesome Ladies to promote feminist scrapping and the Awesome Ladies Community. I’m honored to be part of it! Basically, this means that instead of just posting about CrossFit, I’ll be posting about CrossFit AND scrapbooking. Win for me, win for you!

What Do You Tell Your Children About The Internet?

But also if somehow something weird happens and you get scared of someone or feel like something is wrong you should always tell me, and I’ll never be mad at you even if you didn’t do 100% “the right thing,” and it’s never too late to say something is making you scared or feel weird, like, there’s not a crucial window that goes by and then if you miss it you can never speak up because it’s your fault now, because you didn’t say anything before.

Watch this little girl name the presidents of 30 countries


The Internet’s First Family

MetaFilter began in 1999 as a sort of humane proto-Reddit. Why did a site for sharing “best of the web” links become a place where strangers help each other in real life in extraordinary ways?

I personally have never engaged with the site in a way like the people in the stories I’ve told here, and I suspect most MeFites haven’t either. But just because you don’t play an active role in an event, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the potential to be important to you. You learn from what other people do; you learn from the site’s culture. The highlights are the exceptional feats of heroism, but anyone who reads the site with any regularity soon learns that the spirit that animates these Great Acts in fact runs all throughout the site, in all the little conversations, all the little exchanges, in the friction and the recovery from the friction, and in how people treat each other and learn to treat each other, even when interacting with people they’ll probably never meet.

This is why the Internet matters. MetaFilter is awesome.

Foreign Service on the Screen

TwoCrabs has a great round-up of FS related media.

This compilation includes films and television shows portraying the Foreign Service, the U.S. State Department, or diplomats in general. Most of the films are about the U.S. Foreign Service, but some also portray the life and work of British, Canadian and other members of the international diplomatic community. Most of the synopsis and movie posters below are from Each synopsis is followed by a reference. All other synopsis were written by Mr. Crab, along with any notes or reviews. If we missed any titles, please share! So with no further ado, the ultimate compendium of Foreign Service on Screen

Seriously. Read it. You won’t regret it.

Zingy Ginger Dressing

Have you ever eaten in one of those Japanese steakhouses where the chef cooks your meal right at the grill table in front of you, and he tries to entertain you by tossing his cleaver and flicking a shrimp tail into someone’s pocket and building a miniature, steaming volcano out of onion slices, and all you can think about is how to get the waitress to bring you another salad with that amazingly gingery dressing on iceberg lettuce? This is the homemade version of that dressing.

Sunset run around the National Mall and saying good-bye


My running buddy took off for even cooler climes at her new post this weekend, so it looks like I’ll be on my own in knocking off a few spots off my DC running bucket list before I take off for Maryland, then Jerusalem, in a few weeks.*  We’ve been in DC since February, and it’s only now that the rapid departure of our friends is really starting to sting. A few friends here, a few friends there, I can live with. But now that it’s starting to feel like we’re among the only ones left? It hurts a little bit more to say good-bye than it did a few months ago.

Lincoln Memorial at sunset

This is, perhaps, the worst part of the transient nature of my job; every single time we move, I forget that it’s going to be like this. Before Camille left, we hugged, and she said, “Next time we’re in the same part of the world, we should do this again some time!”  It’s heartening because we probably will land in DC or somewhere else at the same time again; but heartbreaking because it could be another ten years before it happens.

Last night, I went out to dinner to say good-bye to another great friend.  We will serve our next tours in the same part of the world, and will most likely serve together at some point in our careers, but that doesn’t make it any easier to realize that it’s going to be months or years before we see each other face-to-face again.  And when we do, it will only be for a very short time.

Our route was the Smithsonian past the Washington Memorial, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, and back to the Washington Memorial

I’ve never before been envious of those that put down roots and stay in the same place for years and decades at a time.  I’m not envious now, especially with the communication power of the Internet, but I can’t help but think about how different life would be with constant in person contact with friends and family.  My support network is scattered across the world right now, and as wonderful as that sounds in the abstract, it can be really tough when I just need a friend to lean on.

The good news is that Skype exists! Several mothers of toddlers who were at the FSI daycare together are organize Skype sessions for our girls’ to see each other, from places as diverse as Cairo and Prague and Bujumbura. That’s amazing. And something I never would have imagined when I began the life of a nomad straight out of college.  One of my primary personal goals for my next tour is to maintain more regular contact with my friends and family, both back here in the States and everywhere else they’re traveling.

Last post-run selfie. So dark you can barely make us out.

In any case, we got a lot of great photos of our sunset run around the mall!  Running makes everything better.  Especially with friends and the kids.

Bertrand joined us with the girls.  Thumbs up!

* If anyone’s up for 15-minute miles (with or without the toddler in tow), I’ve still gotta hit Rock Creek Park, Embassy Row, the White House, and the other side of the mall.

Diary of a Fat CrossFitter – Somewhat less crabby today

Yesterday, Jasmine threw a temper tantrum in the parking lot, and I picked her up and carried her all the way to the car, along with the groceries, and I wasn’t even winded.

Today, Jasmine and I did yoga together when I got home from CrossFit. And then I stopped and just took pictures because ADORABLE.

A couple of weekends ago, I had the first workout at my CrossFit gym box where I didn’t feel like I was lagging behind everyone else. And lo and behold, when my partner and I finished, our score was in the middle of the pack. And not just because my partner did most of the work, which often happens to me too.

The last couple of weeks have been encouraging in terms of running too. Yeah. Running. WOW. Seriously? I ran for 25 minutes straight the other day. That is out of this fucking world, considering that in May, I couldn’t run two hundred meters without stopping to walk. Here’s the thing, though–I’m still a fat novice runner, a fat novice lifter, and a fat novice CrossFitter, and the learning curve has been very steep (and it’s not been helped by my crabbiness over the last couple of weeks).

I’ve been lucky to have access to excellent coaches, a box close to my house, and a spouse who’s 100% supportive of me getting in shape. I’ve seen crazypants progress over the last several months; however, I’m starting to feel like now that I have an idea of what to do, I need to narrow down what I want. “Get better at CrossFit” and “get fitter” are excellent goals in the short term, but they’re not going to carry me through several months of leave and international moves. Instead, I think I need to set some new specific short and long-term goals.

Some of you may remember a post from several months ago, where I spoke about my steadfast refusal to make any resolutions for fitness. Establishing the habit was more important to me than anything else. In doing that, I’ve discovered that some things are more important to me than others. I love running. I love lifting. I hate burpees (doesn’t everyone?). I really don’t care about getting good at CrossFit for CrossFit’s sake. And there are a few things that I really really really want to do.

Hmmmmm. Time to make a plan.

Diary of a Fat CrossFitter – Crabby McCrabbyPants

If you’re hollering out encouragement to EVERY runner who passes you during the workout, that’s awesome. If you’re only hollering encouragement to the fat chick who’s struggling, well, fuck you, buddy.

Here’s the thing that I think a lot of people forget about fat people in the gym, ANY GYM, not just Crossfit:

  1. Fat is not and should not be a moral judgement (so don’t fucking lie to me and tell me I’m not fat).
  2. Fat does not equal a lack of confidence about my non-fitness achievements. Seriously. I am fucking awesome, and I don’t ever forget it. Neither should you.

Listen, I totally get that I’m the slowest person in the entire membership. And no matter how many new members arrive, I’m still the slowest. But it does means when I’m running slowly, it’s because I’m slow, not because I’m not giving max effort on a workout. If I take a short break between burpees, it’s because I’m likely not going to be able to get back up after the next one if I don’t.  Certainly, I am not scaling box jumps and pushups because I want to.

I occasionally feel like I have to prove that I’m working hard. And I do eventually prove it. To everyone. Because I am working my ass off.

But dammit. I wish I didn’t have to.

Several unrelated thoughts

  1. My CrossFit gym box hods a nutritional coaching program a few times a year, and I am participating in the current round. I will not be blogging it here in detail here because t’s a pretty restrictive program (although designed to become less restrictive when you finish), and I’m still trying to figure out where the fine line between “trying to get healthy” and “orthorexic” is.  It’s a Whole30 writ large, and it’s important to me to get through the eight weeks of the program. If you’re interested in my food choices, holler at me and I’ll send you the link to the tumblr I’ll be using to record Every.  Single.  Meal.  UGH.
  2. Speaking of Jerusalem, the countdown has begun!  We’ve begun the long process of pre-departure planning, arranging pack-outs, and getting ready to leave the U.S. for two years.  I am super excited, but also super stressed.
  3. Grace is walking.  This is amazing and frightening, all at the same time.
  4. My spouse and I have decided to eschew the orgy of pre-departure purchases in favor of purchasing just about everything locally in Jerusalem.  It’s kind of freaking me out, but I’m really pleased that we’re not going to spend a fortune on consumables over the next two months.