Blend Recap

There are a lot of people doing really thorough, detailed recaps of all of the food and fun from over the weekend, so I’m not going to go there.  Instead, I thought I’d reflect a bit on some of the lessons I took away from my very first blogging retreat.


Photo courtesy Lindsay’s List

Go small if you can’t go big.. just don’t go home.

I was really nervous driving up to the retreat.  Like, thinking about high-tailing it back into the the valley nervous.  Instead of doing that, I took a few deep breaths, strapped my kid to my chest (something about him makes me feel invincible…) and marched my way in to register.  I was greeted by Momma B, Janetha’s mom, who treated me like an old friend.  That helped calm my nerves a bit.  Next up was getting bestowed with swag by the lovely Lindsay, whose blog I had read a few times but I wasn’t a regular reader.  My god, it boggles my mind that people are so nice naturally.   Those two interactions, even though they were so tiny and insignificant, helped calm me down so much as I started the weekend.

My nerves were back in full force when it came time for cocktail hour, though.  I had to ask my naturally extroverted and bubbly husband the best ways to approach an already-interacting group of people, because the last time I tried to do that I crashed and burned.  He gave me some tips and I steeled myself with some liquid courage (thanks to Silk for that!) before approaching a friendly-looking group of ladies with an empty chair at their table.

I am a big believer in the fact that you get what you put out, so I found it really funny that my hope with this weekend was to meet some women that I would hopefully click with and maybe become friends with.  I’m not sure what the ratio of locals to visitors was, but I happened to plop myself down at a table of mostly local women!  I got to meet Alison and her daughter Madison, and Leslie, who shares a passion for health promotion like I do!  Rounding out the table was Arlene and Deborah, who were also awesome and fun to talk to.  Dinner was delicious and I had a great time talking to Alison about blogs we both read (YHL represent!) and generally joking around with everyone at the table.

Those first two events were pretty much par for the course for the rest of the weekend.  I stuck with my little group of new “Blends” for the most part, and while I am a bit envious of some of the more social recaps I’ve been reading, but ultimately… this was good.  I stuck my toe into a world that made me completely uncomfortable and realised that I came out of it unscathed.  Better than unscathed, really… with some new friends, and with hope for the future.

I can do more than I think I can.

Since I’m a regular reader of Janetha’s blog I’ve been curious about  GPP Fitness.  I’ve done boot-camp style classes before and liked them a lot, but GPP specifically seemed really intimidating considering how challenged Janetha is with the workouts they offer.  When I heard they were hosting the morning boot camps I was excited to try it out and happy to say that I lived to tell the tale, even while surrounded by gorgeous women in Lululemon attire who seemed like they could run circles around me.


Photo courtesy Lindsay’s List

I’m also happy to say that while I was definitely sore the next day, it was manageable.  I’ve overdone it before and been completely miserable, but this felt normal for the amount of working out that I did.  This class, plus the gentle prodding of one of the trainers, has encouraged me to get a groupon for GPP and give it a real try.  I’m excited to start on Saturday and I hope it’s another step in the right direction in this little journey I’m on.

I need to stop judging other people (and that includes myself).

If you pay attention, there have been little indications of this throughout the post.   It’s not fair to anyone, but I have a hard time believing such awesome ladies would ever want to hang out with little old me.  A great example of this is one of the GPP Trainers and fellow Blend Candice:

Squat Form

Photo courtesy Lindsay’s List

She came and sat at the same table as me during breakfast and we got to talking about working out and motherhood (yeah, she’s the mother of twins.  I have no excuse for slacking off anymore…).  My insecurities would normally make me believe that someone so pretty couldn’t be as nice as she was, but she was the real deal.  Genuine and funny and kind, and I had to again check myself and remember that the stuff I project out is about me, not about the other person.

Blend was great at reminding me of this.  There were all sorts of women there; plenty younger than me and quite a few that were older.  Some that seemed as fit as me; some that maybe were a bit less.  Plenty that were much further along than me.  But everyone that I came across was legitimately nice.  Everyone that I talked to was friendly and willing to chat.   It sounds so obvious, but the fear of being rejected has kept me closed off for a long time, and Blend was great at allowing me to explore that sort of thing in a pretty controlled environment so I could be reminded that the world is actually a pretty cool place overall.

So… what’s next?

Like I mentioned earlier, I’ll be heading to GPP on Saturday and we’ll see how that goes.  I am doing my best to be clear and determined about going.  Like most of the women who came to Blend, I’m also thinking of next year.  I stayed offsite this year, mostly to accommodate my son, but it also gave me the opportunity to stay in my comfort zone.  Maybe next year I’ll jump in with both feet and see where it takes me!


Dare You To Move

Subtitled:  A fluff piece because I have slacked on the blog but people might be looking at it soon.

This weekend, I’m doing something that’s really out of my comfort zone.  I’m going to spend the weekend with a bunch of women I’ve never met doing bootcampy and physically active type things.  Neither of these are my strong point.

I had heard about the Blend Retreat from a blog I read often, Meals and Moves.  I’m not sure why I was drawn to Janetha’s blog considering I’m not really fitnessy.  I think it was her mix of humor and recipes along with talking about how much she can lift that drew me in.  Regardless, Blend is her brainchild, along with two other bloggers, and was held in Colorado last year.  I lived vicariously through her pictures and recaps and thought about how cool it must be to feel like you were part of this giant support system.

When she announced that they were holding Blend about a half hour from my house this year, I realized I was being given a nudge to put my money where my mouth was, essentially.  Instead of wistfully scrolling by all these happy ladies, I could potentially be a happy lady.  Was I ready for that?  It sounds like a pretty stupid question, but I’m kind of gunshy of late.  It feels like I am still adjusting to motherhood and no one around me knows what to do with me.  I have been feeling some serious role strain as I try to adjust to being a stay at home mom and it hasn’t helped that all of my friends seem to be busy, sick, or otherwise incommunicado the last few months.  Lately, I have just been lonely, sad, and confused.

All this considered, Blend seemed like a good way to get out of my funk and put myself in a situation that was friendly, but still somewhat out of my comfort zone.  See, I am pretty much the embodiment of socially awkward penguin, and while I am hopeful that the next two days are going to be awesome and I am going to make new friends, I am also really afraid that it is going to be a nonstop blush-fest where I hide in my room the whole time.

At least I’m showing up though, right?  A for effort?

The Boy Scouts of America and the Tyranny of Choice

I walk to the store near my house several times a week; it’s a way to get both me and the baby out of the house, and I’m becoming convinced that my sedentary husband and I have somehow spawned an outdoors-man.  Better to roll with it than fight it, I think.

Over the last few visits, there have been boy scouts standing next to the door.  Once it was a kid just standing near the garbage can so I didn’t think much of it, but twice now I’ve walked through the automatic doors and passed a family camped out on lawn chairs, often eating lunch, with one of the children in full BSA regalia.  Once, it seemed like the mother murmured to the boy to ask me a question but I zipped on through (my own boy gets a bit vocal when I’m too slow) and nothing ever came of it.

Each time I saw these kids there  I held my breath a bit.  I am a natural introvert and don’t love being hit up for money, but beyond that I’m not sure how to react.  Even with the Boy Scouts of America potentially poised to admit gay members, I’m hesitant to support them financially.  Part of me feels like it’s too little, too late, and that the measure doesn’t go far enough since it still excludes gay scout leaders from the organization.    The other part of me, though, struggles with the micro:  these are local kids, and our local faith has said that they would support gay members if that is what the Boy Scouts of America chooses.

I feel like I butt up against this a lot.  “Liberal guilt”, man.  It’s a real thing.  Do I boycott Chik-Fil-A because of the actions of its ownership or do I support the local franchiser who comes out and says that they have always been inclusive with their hiring practices?   How much worse is Walmart than Target?  Why am I shopping at either of these places anyway when there are Mom and Pop stores?!  Meat is inhumane; grass-fed, locally raised is better.  How much of my family’s limited budget can I spend on it?  How bad is it to drive to a city 40 minutes away to get locally-sourced, humanely treated beef?  Does the animal-rights aspect outweigh the pollution aspect?  Does the fact that I bought a Prius negate some of this?  If so, how much?

Karl Marx said that “religion is the opiate of the people” and while I don’t believe that all religious folk (or all conservative folk, for that matter) are blissed-out and unthinking, I do believe there is some sort of peace in being able to look to an ideology for either guidance or outright instruction.  When you belong to a faith that considers homosexuality to be a sin, your choices are easier.  Gobble up all the fried chicken and lemonade (and delicious shakes, and waffle fries, and… I guess I’m off topic here) that you want.  A blogger I read even described her family as “Chik-Fil-A People“; a subtle hint to the weird politics and beliefs that are wrapped up in decisions like this.   As an aside:  Katie Bower, if you stumble upon this because of that link, know that I love your blog and think you are so sweet and gracious.  (Also: omg can I be bffs with you and $herdog?!)

Maybe this isn’t as much of an issue of political belief as I make it out to be and more the symptom of the tyranny of choice.  We are privileged enough to live in a world where there is no shortage of stuff, be it tangible like choices of fast food to eat or places to send our child for extra-curricular activities, or more nebulous like steady streams of information that keep us informed of every thought and action of every business owner of any product we ever wanted to consume.  I try to vote with my wallet and spend my money in places that reflect my values but in the end, I realize I can only do so much and am too tired to open the floodgates to researching every. little. thing. that my family does.  Something’s got to give.

Here’s hoping that those little boys at my neighborhood grocery store get whatever they’re after, and here’s hoping that even more little boys will have a more inclusive and welcoming environment to learn in come this summer.