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Diary of a Fat Crossfitter – Time cap? What time cap?

Post-Helen Theresa
Post-Helen Theresa

The best way to get one-on-one time with the coaches at my gym box is to finish last. I like to think it’s because the coaches are admiring my determination and fortitude, but I’m pretty sure it’s only because they’re worried Imma hurt myself.

My box appears to have some rhyme and reason to its programming, and part of that is testing. How much can you lift? How fast can you get through this benchmark metcon workout? How far do you have to scale the workouts to complete them under the time cap? How much have you improved since the last time you tested?  I’m happy to be done with benchmark week. I could do the last two workouts in the progression this weekend, but I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend snuggled up with my family and my Arabic flashcards.

This week I’ve discovered that I can deadlift a decent amount for a novice. I still can’t do a single goddamned pushup. And I infinitely prefer ring rows to rope raises.

Also, I have completed zero benchmark workouts under the time cap. Bless the coaches’ hearts, they let me finish anyway.

Crystal City Farmer’s Market

crystal_city_market_2
Image courtesy of Crystal City

One of the best things about living in Crystal City is the amazing farmer’s market.  Sure, it’s for rich yuppies who have more many than sense, but I live in NoVa, so that’s basically everything here.

Every Tuesday, from 3:30 to 7:30, about two dozen vendors line a shady sidewalk to hawk their wares.  There are lots of organic vegetables, but also artisanal cheeses, breads, and yes, delicious pickles.

Even … bacon.

Yes, we belong to a CSA, and yes, we have a Costco literally down the block, but it’s really nice to be able to pick up a few extra vegetables on a Tuesday evening without having to trek all the way to the grocery store.

My Writing Process, Such That it Is

Naval-gazing indeed. When Roaen tagged me to participating in a Writing Process blog hop, I couldn’t help but laugh. The only thing I love more than talking about myself is getting to do it on my blog. We bloggers are a narcissic bunch sometimes, but I have really enjoyed clicking backward through the hop and seeing how other busy bloggers manage their work lives, families, and blogs.

What am I working on?

When Roaen sent me this, I spent a fair amount of time thinking about this question. What am I working on? I don’t write professionally, and I don’t have a goal of turning this blog into a revenue source. It’s a side project—a way for me to write, but also for me to stay in touch with many of the other wonderful folks in the Foreign Service community. I’ve been paid to write in the past, and that was lovely, but these days, it’s remarkably freeing to be able to write because I love it, instead of writing for a paycheck.

My only current writing project is this blog. After a years long hiatus (or effective hiatus, when I only posted once a month or so), finding my voice has become a struggle. What do I want from this blog? Who is my audience? And how can I balance writing about the things I care passionately about with the State Departments written and unwritten rules about blogging?

How does my work differ from others?

Oh, meandering me. At various points, I have blogged about studying abroad, the Peace Corps, running a business in Benin, technology in Africa, women’s issues, food, paper crafts, losing weight, life in Freetown, and finally, life at FSI here in DC. Like many in the FS community (officers and spouses and MOHs alike), I have lived a varied and interesting life, and have continued to write as I have done so.

Today, I write about many subjects well covered elsewhere: cooking, CrossFit, paper crafts, life at FSI, parenting, and travelogues. I am lucky in that my job ties all of those disparate subjects together. How can I find community and passionate work wherever I go? How do we Sondjos make our home happy, no matter where in the world it may be?

I love sharing the normalcy of our lives, and I love sharing our grand adventures.

Why do I write what I do?

I write because I love to write. It’s a creative outlet. I love to share. I love telling stories. And even when I am SO MAD because it looks like State is broken AGAIN, I love my job as an FSO. I want people to love everything I love as much as I do. And even if they don’t love it, I want to share my joy and my exuberance, and yes, even my frustrations with the rest of the world.

How does my writing process work?

I draft all blog posts in Evernote so that I have access to them on all of my devices, wherever I am. If I’m not online, I take notes and outline posts in a moleskin, but everything makes it to Evernote eventually. I am slowly starting a schedule (Foreign Service Fridays, CrossFit Mondays, Community Tuesdays), punctuated by regular posts about home and family. Drafts may sit around for months before I finish them, but once I have an acceptably finished post, I ask myself one more time whether it’s a good idea to publish the post as-is.  If so, I copy it into WordPress, add any photos, and schedule it.

The vast majority of my posts are scheduled in advance. I write them when I have time to do so, schedule them, and forget about them. I’m finding that as I write more, the habits I developed when I was blogging professionally are also serving me well as an amateur. The fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants thing was fun for a long time, but I fully expect that future employers (and future managers of positions on which I’m bidding) will read this blog, and I believe a minimum of professionalism will serve me well.

On a  technical note, I use a this editorial calendar plugin to help me visualize my editorial calendar each month.

Onward-ho!

Bridget is a fellow Foreign Service Officer, a mother, and an all around great person. I’ve enjoyed reading her posts from the DR, and can’t wait to read about her life as an American diplomat in China!

The lovely Ashley is a (newly again) mother of five.  I don’t know where she finds the time to write, but she is hilarious.  And now that I’ve met her, I hear all of her blog posts in her actual voice, and it’s even better.  I have loved reading about her family’s adventures around the world, and now in DC for long term training.

FS Blog Rejuvenation, Week #3 – Making it home

Each Sunday, for six weeks, I’ll post three prompts (an introspective prompt, an activity prompt, and a photo prompt) to get us thinking about what we love about Post and this crazy FS life. Use any or none of them, then comment on that week’s post or in the FB group to let us know you’ve posted. The following Tuesday (that is, nine days later), I’ll post a round-up so that we can see what amazing things our fellow Foreign Service families are living and experiencing around the world.

Housing at a Post can make or break morale for many families.  FS families come from all walks of life, and adjusting to our new homes every two to three years can be just as challenging as adjusting to the local language, work culture, and traditions.  This week’s prompts ask us to take a look at what each of us do to make our homes home when we arrive at Post.

Blog Rejuvenation Prompts – Week #3

Prompt 1: What’s “home” to you and your family?  What are the small things you do immediately upon arrival (or upon the arrival of your UAB) at Post to make your house more homelike?

Prompt 2:  Commit to a project in your home to fix something that’s been making you crazy.  You can DIY, contract it out, or convince your long suffering spouse and kids to take care of it for you.  Take photos and let us know how it goes!

Prompt 3:  Take a picture of your favorite room in your home.

The round-up will go up on Tuesday, 6/3, so be sure to comment here or on FB if you’d like to share.

FS Blog Rejuvenation Round-Up, Week #1

As promised, here’s the round-up of all of the wonderful Foreign Service Bloggers participating in our Spring Rejuvenation. It’s been a real privilege to see how everyone’s managing to stay busy and happy around the world (or in DC). Be sure to check out each post!

Nomads by Nature wrote about taking walks with her beautiful (and somewhat uncooperative) dogs in Ankara.

Deb, in Tiblisi, shared a beautiful photograph of her daughter that makes her happy.

Sara has written about how she stays happy in Manilla, and getting a mani-pedi (something sweet for herself).

I wrote about getting back to the gym (and loving it!), while back in DC for long term training, and shared a beautiful picture of my daughter as a newborn.

Ania shared a gorgeous photo of tulips in her careen in Copenhagen.  It’s the simple things that often make us the happiest.

Kate updated us on her family’s adventures and her car-slash-grocery-car accident.  Luckily, no permanent damage!

Kelly wrote a beautiful post on embracing this crazy life and some of the travel she’s done as a result of that.

Sadie’s got a great list of strategies for staying happy at Post, including a few time saving strategies, like my favorite, the Sunday cook-up.

Roaen shared several pictures of herself and her family that make her happy, even if she *is* still in DC.

TulipGirl shared some wonderful photos of her child playing with fairies, or at least, enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

And finally, Lauren talks about the small things that helped keep her happy in Dhaka.