End of the Year

This is going to be a photo post, mostly. Mostly. I should have gymmed last night but I felt like ass and Tyler took one look at me and made me go home. So I went to the store and bought sick people food.

This year started with me still being on my couch a lot. I got a puppy the second day of the year and that helped a lot. She got me started. She really did. The dog shaped hole in my heart was full and I started feeling better.

But then I set a goal. A goal to hike the Grand Canyon. All because I offered to be the car person for a girl that was wanting to do a rim to rim. Thanks to that one random moment where she replied “Wouldn’t you rather hike it?” I am now on my way to doing just that.

I am really super happy and so, so lucky that I found such a great hiking group on Meetup on my very first outing. I really am. I really enjoy them and I feel that I am making friends and I’m getting out and being alive.

Now here I am after hiking around 145 miles since late in August feeling good. I’m a happy girl.

sick people food

Sick people foods!

sick people food-2

sick people food-3

Homegoods is my new favorite place. Bone china mug from the UK for $5! With adorable owls. Come on!

sick people food-4

NYE breakfast beverage. Straight orange juice. In an appropriately themed bar glass.

My New Year’s Eve:


Catching up on Middle Earth.


Christmas cactus is so festive!


Future festivities!


My date for the evening. I’d let her eat an entire wheel of cheese.



For Christmas my Dad gave me some cash. With this cash I ordered hiking and camping supplies.

First I ordered my hiking poles, which I’ve already displayed but will again for my own benefit, I guess:

So legit!

So legit!

I have used them on a handful of hikes now and I am really glad I have them. They do come in handy!

Then I ordered a camping chair, a sleeping pad, and a camp pillow. Sure, I’m backpacking and camping my way down, across, and up the canyon but dammit I’m gonna be a wee bit comfy while I do it!

Just now I thought I should try to set up the chair to make sure I know how. I do not. I may need to take it to the store and ask them to show me. First off, this is all the direction they gave me:

This is worse than IKEA!

This is worse than IKEA!

So I did what I think it told me to do and this is how it looks:

I'm not sitting in that. I don't want to break my ass.

I’m not sitting in that. I don’t want to break my ass.

Doesn’t look right, does it?

So then I tried to put it back into the stuff sack and that didn’t go well and I said a lot of curses and creatively tossed in the phrase “stuff sack” as often as possible while doing so.

Yo momma's a stuff sack.

Yo momma’s a stuff sack.

I’ll try that one again later.

Here is my camp pillow. It made me feel a wee bit more successful:

camping gear-4

I can roll a light weight pillow, y'all!

I can roll a light weight pillow, y’all!

And yes I am already in my pajamas. Don’t act like you’re not.

I was going to unroll my sleeping pad and do all of that but the camp chair broke my spirit so I did not even take it out.

I hold things with my feet like a monkey.

I hold things with my feet like a monkey.

I should, though. Before the hike. And I shall. But only after I master that camp chair. One obstacle at a time, right? Sure.

“Once again there was the desert, and that only.”

(quote from “The Gunslinger” by Stephen King)

I spent the weekend hiking in the desert! Saturday was an 8 mile hike with over 900 feet of elevation gain! It was a really nice hike and I enjoyed it, even if my hips did get really tired and ached. Part of the hike was the Union Peak trail. It is very steep and the last time I went up it I was a wee bit nervous and acted like myself. Yesterday I was FOURTH in line going up and I kept up, even with my breathing making me sound as if I may die. But I did it and when I got to the top I was seriously smiling hardcore.

I am a cheeser.

I am a cheeser.

I didn’t take a lot of photos because we, for the most part, were hauling ass.

Today we had two hikes scheduled. However, I went ahead and cancelled my RSVP for the second one since I am in charge of watching Wendy’s animals and I didn’t want to mess up their schedule too much. But it was good that I went ahead and cancelled because as soon as I started hiking my right ankle hurt like hell. I walked the entire four miles with my ankle feeling like shit. Good idea? Likely not but I did it, so there.

I did, however, take a lot of photos on today’s hike. It was a really lovely area.

Before the hike I listened to two men discuss the movie and book version of “Wild.” I have no idea what book the one man read because it was NOT “Wild.” And that’s all I have to say about that. I just wanted to make note of that for some reason. My blog, my things!

We are now all up to date. We are so happy.


So I gymmed on Monday and Tuesday this week because I wanted to ensure I got both workouts in before the holiday and all of that. Stay on schedule, etc. and so forth.

Monday my legs were still super tired and sore from the hike on Sunday so we did upper body:

HS lay pull down 70×12 70×12 70×12
BM incline chest press 40×12 40×12 40×12
Tricep cable rope pull downs 40×15 40×15 40×15
Straight bar bicep curls 30×10 30×10 30×10
Low cable pulley row 60×12 50×12 50×12
HS ISO chest press 20×10 20×10 20×10
Supermans with weight for shoulders 3×15 3×15 3×15

I graduated up in weight quite a damn bit! And at one point I said “Dude, this is all very hard and I’m not doing very well” and he shushed me and told me that he would not be doing his job if everything he had me do was easy. He’s right all of the time, you guys. It’s annoying.

At one point he had me over in bro corner. Dudes all bench pressing and tough talking each other and grunting and stuff and then there was me and I was all “Why do you have me in bro corner?!?!”

After my time in bro corner he made me do the supermans with weight to help stretch my shoulders and I told him I hate doing the supermans because it looks dumb and weird and he said he could make me do all sorts of weird looking things and I wouldn’t know if it was a real move or not and then I shut up and did the supermans.

Seriously. This is so dumb. I’m sorry, people that enjoy the superman extension. I hate it. I feel dumb and like a turtle that is upside down and just trying to figure shit out.

Then I went in on Tuesday and we did legs but that is not on the spreadsheet and I cannot for the life of me remember what we did!

Oh, wait, I just remembered. I don’t know the names of the stuff so have fun figuring shit out with my descriptions!

First he had me put one leg in the TRX row strap thingy and do lunges! With one leg elevated in a rope! And I did it without falling down! But I did hurt my feet because I was trying to put all of my weight on the one foot that was on the ground and make it one with the floor.

Seriously. I’m still alive and my hips were not ripped out of the sockets. I’m clearly not the same Andrea I once was.

Then I had to do side jumps over this thing. For thirty seconds I just jumped to and fro, sideways. It made me giggle.

After three sets of each of those I had to step up on a big step that looks like the step that elephants use in the circus but square. I put one foot on it, then I’d step up, then step down, the foot standing on the step would then pivot back and I’d do a lunge. Repeat on that side ten times then repeat on the other leg ten times. And that is when my legs started to hurt real bad.

Also while doing that thing I was doing jump ups onto a lower step and squatting and jumping up again.

I don’t squat while on the step nor do I pray at any point. Maybe I should. “Please God, please don’t make me do these jump squats.”

So all of this stepping and jumping made my knee hurt. So guess what? Foam roller, that’s right. I had to foam roller my legs and then he made me do the elephant stand steps again to see if that worked, and it did, so he gave me the stern “you should buy yourself a foam roller for Christmas, young lady” talk.

So, I guess I figured out what all I did after all! Go me!

The rest of this week has been super relaxing and nice and Christmas was lovely. Then I woke up today and I was suddenly in an arctic zone instead of Arizona. It was seriously cold. And I had a hike scheduled! So I bundled up:

Your cash and your jewelry is what I expect.

Your cash and your jewelry is what I expect.

And then up the trail I went. It was a very steep trail right from the start and the air was very, very cold and I could NOT breathe and I was NOT happy and I did, in fact, freak myself right on out and I stopped and watched the others walk away and then I yelled “NO! YOU GO ON WITHOUT ME, I’M FINE!” because I did not want to say “I CAN’T BREATHE AND I’M A BIT WIGGED OUT ABOUT IT ALL!” Plus, the wigging out over not being able to breathe made me then wig out about having to come back down the steep trail that had really small pebbley like rocks that I hate because they are where one would fall if one is going to fall and it was all bad.

Another girl turned around before the top for the same pebbley rock reason and told me not to be embarrassed, that I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself. So, there you go.

There’s a hike tomorrow and Sunday but the weather is still supposed to be cold so we shall see. We shall see.

I hope everyone has had a nice holiday season and thank you for taking time out of your lives to read my words.

Gymming and Hiking

I gymmed on Tuesday. I remember nothing about it. Let’s go to the chart:

Rope slams, in & out, alt up down 10,20,20 10,20,20 10,20,20
Big med ball wall toss 14×15 14×15 14×15
Squat hops (no stepper) 20 20 20
Slider lunges 10 10 10
FM standing crunch 30×20 30×20 30×20
Flutter kicks 50 50 50
Back extensions 20 20 20
Back extensions shoulder clockwork 3×5/5 3×5/5 3×5/5

All I have to say about Tuesday is that the slider lunges were not as hard as I thought they would be and the flutter kicks? I did each set all at once. When he was telling me what to do and how to do it he said “And I want you to do a total of 50” and we both basically assumed I’d have to take a break. Well eff that, y’all. I did 50 flutter kicks with no break three times. Boom!

I also gymmed Thursday. This is what that looked like:

Walking lunges 20 20 20
Shoulder press 30×10 30×15 30×20
Push ups 10 15 20
Leg lifts (Holding bar in hands) 30×10 30×15 30×20
Squats 30×10 30×15 30×20
Walking lunges 20 20 20
Stairmaster intervals

To start off he walked me over to the barbells and handed me a 30 and said “Do a shoulder press.” I did a shoulder press. He asked “how did that feel?” and I said “Fine.” and he said “Excellent! Let’s go, follow me!”

I followed him over to the turf field area and he said “First you’re going to do walking lunges with this resting on your shoulders. Then you’ll do shoulder presses. Then I want you to use it to do pushups. After that? Roll over and do leg lifts. Then stand up then do squats.”

My response? “Have I angered you in some way?”

Seriously. He, like, stepped this shit up. But I did it. I was slow and messy but I did it. And I felt super legit doing squats with a 30lb barbell resting on my shoulders. Like, totally legit. I’m a weightlifter or something!

But, the fact that I do not stretch really hindered me. I had severe pain in my arms if I tried to do the walking lunges with the barbell up there. Like, I’m going to pass out because my arms hurt so bad type pain. So he took that away and I just did walking lunges. SIX SETS! Whew.

As I left he gave me a Christmas card that he wrote a really nice note in and then finished it with:

It's his Christmas wish!

It’s his Christmas wish!

So, I think he really really really wants me to stretch. I’ll see what I can do.

Friday I went out and had fun and therefore my alarm was not appropriately set for my Saturday hike and I missed it. And then I proceeded to do a whole lot of nothing the entire day. It was glorious.

Today I got up, as I should, and did two hikes for a total of eight miles. I did not use the Map My Walk app so I don’t have a nice record of the length, time, elevation, etc. But this qualified as training for the National Trail Trek so there is that.

And now we are all caught up. I have nothing profound to add.

Rainy Days

Saturday morning I woke up to the sound of my alarm and rain. So, I made the decision to not hike. Even though the radar and forecasts said it should clear out and be dry by the time the hike was scheduled to begin. But I decided to just stay home and take care of things I need to take care of and not be hiking on soggy desert trails. I stand by my decision but maaaaaan, when I saw some of the photos they took on the hike I was sorry. But! I got a lot done around the house and that is important and was needed. So it’s all good.

I went out for a few drinks Saturday night and to a Holiday Party. I, also, did that Friday night. Party time, y’all!

Saturday I had two drinks and got to bed around midnight thirty and my alarm was set for 5:15am. I damn near decided to stay home Sunday, too, but then I told myself “NO! You did not hike yesterday, you are in training for a 15.5 mile hike, you get your ass out there and do it! HIKE!” So I did.Not just one of the hikes but BOTH we had scheduled that morning.

And? I’m so happy I did because I got to see a meteor from the Geminid Meteor Shower! I was driving to the trailhead and it was all dark but the light from the Sun was just starting to sneak into the sky so you could see silhouettes of the mountains and the saguaros and it was beautiful and fantastic. Then, suddenly, there it was! A bright streak across the sky right in my line of sight! And as quickly as I saw it, it was gone. It was really very amazing.

The first hike was a very easy 4 mile walk in the desert around Cone Mountain. It was cold so we were all walking fairly quickly and we were going to finish the hike in about an hour! so Sabrina decided to add a wee bit to it. That was some incline and that was nice. Get the heart rate elevated a bit before the second hike.

The people that weren’t going on the second hike left, some people that only wanted do do the second hike arrived, and off we went back on the trail heading to Brown’s Mountain Summit!



I was second in line on the trail right beside/behind Sabrina. She was going at a good pace and I, somehow, managed to keep up with her. And the trail to get to the Summit trailhead is a nice, steady incline. And she took no breaks. We walked and walked and walked until we got to the Summit trailhead. And I was all heavy breathing but I stayed right with her pace and a few people said “Good job, Andrea!” I won’t lie, I like that.

They mean the words that they say!

They mean the words that they say!

A few people took a one minute break and then off they went up the summit trail. I waited until my breathing was normal again and then off I went. Kristen said “I’m gonna go with Andrea!” I think that was her way of being a nonchalant source of support. I really, really like this group of people.

So, off I went. And I was scared but, overall, I just went up the trail and that was that. I wasn’t as slow as before when I did this but I wasn’t as fast as the others, naturally. But I’m pleased with how I did, really.

I got to the top and I was smiling like a cheeser and just happy and kinda had my own private basking in it all. I took some photos, including my usual selfie.

At the top! Alive! Not thinking about the trip down yet!

At the top! Alive! Not thinking about the trip down yet!

I will not lie. I can actually feel vertigo begin just by looking at that photo. Because I know the height and all of it. That’s my relationship with heights, OK? OK.

Then we had to go down. And I went last. But Kristen, Cindy, and John all went with me. Cindy went ahead to offer a hand if I needed it. Kristen and John were behind me. They countered all of my negative talk with positive talk. Kristen asked me how my trip home for Thanksgiving was and that distracted me pretty well for a bit and I was able to just go down the trail. Then John came down and got in front of me to show me a better way to walk down a steep hill. Wide stance, small steps. And I did it and it did help. He told me to not revert back to my old ways, to keep my mind focused on doing wide stance, small steps. I hope I can do that.

When we came off of the summit the people already at the bottom applauded but then told me they’re not going to do that every time. I don’t blame them. ha!

Then off we went on the trail that goes around Brown’s Mountain. It was a lot of down. And part of the down was still quite wet and muddy and we all added about five pounds to our shoes while trudging through that area so our legs got an extra workout thanks to mud. Mine seemed particularly thick and caked on and they were laughing at me and I was being oh so prissy and not enjoying the mud. I guess I’m prissy. That girl in college was right. Bitch.

Then Jodie was all “Do you ever, on the trail, stop and think “Did I forget deodorant today?”” And I was all “It doesn’t matter if I remember it or not. I stink after a hike, y’all.” But I thought I was only talking to her. The entire group heard and the entire group laughed and now I’m the stinky kid.

Sabrina turned my shame into a meme.

Sabrina turned my shame into a meme.

Overall we hiked around 8 miles on Sunday. Which is pretty darn good. My phone battery died so my Map My Walk stats are all wrong. I hate that. But, you know, shit happens.

I came home from the hiking and showered (due to all of the stink), then I commenced to making a big pot of chili and two batches of fudge before Wendy and I went to see “Wild.”

When I first decided to hike the Grand Canyon, Laura and Wendy both told me that I should read that book. And I did. I’ve tucked it all deep inside, I think. I didn’t see myself in it. She was a huge mess, after all. But watching the movie kinda pulled it all back out and it was all I could do to just not sit there crying through the whole thing. The scenes of her just being alone in her environment were the scenes that hit me the hardest. It was an excellent adaptation of the book and I’m glad I got to see it with Wendy.

My hiking is just really good for me. The things I am accomplishing is good for me. I’m proud of my progress at the gym for sure, yes. But it’s the hikes that I’m the proudest of. The hikes that give me the most peace and happy feelings. I’m on the right path.

Back on the Horse

And by horse I don’t mean drugs or whatever that meant in the ’80s. No way.

The property management company at my office building does an appreciation breakfast a few times a year, one being for the holidays. Which meant on Thursday I had a nice breakfast.

I use omelets as a salsa plate.

I use omelets as a salsa plate.

I went to the gym on Thursday because I just couldn’t allow myself to skip the whole week. But I still felt very very crampy. I managed to do everything he asked me to do except the burpees. I totally refused to do them and I said “I don’t usually really argue with you…” and he said, “OK, I know…no burpees.” I just couldn’t. Not with the cramps, man. He also said “How do you feel about abs?” and I said “Not favorably today.”

But we did manage to get me through this:

DB walking lunges, 2 jumps up 10×10 10×10 10×10
FM cable cross back flys 15×10 15×10 15×10
FM cable cross chest flys 25×10 25×10 25×10
DB stationary lunge with shoulder press / lateral raises 10×5/5(2) 10×5/5(2) 10×5/5(2)
Squat step hops 10 10 10
Single side step ups 10 10 10
Rope slams, in & out, alt up down 10,10,20 10,10,20 10,10,20

The flys were hard and it took a lot to even get me to do the motion right. He said “it’s like a hug, but low!” and was all “you know how to hug people!” and I was all “Dude, I don’t hug people down low! That’s inappropriate!” But I finally got it once I realized it was more like a Hulk Hogan move.

You wanna be a hulkamaniac, too.

The single side step ups were kinda like Rockettes kicks

I wasn’t this jolly.

So, I’d keep one foot on the step and step up with Rocketteing my other leg and it felt so very dancey that I threw in some jazz hand motions. Because why not?

The first set of rope slams I did felt weird. And I said “that just felt really weird…” and Tyler said “Well, yeah, it looked weird, too.” So he showed me how I should do them and then they felt less weird. He indicated they also looked less weird. Goodness.

This morning I should have hiked but it was raining. So I took the opportunity to sleep in and take care of other things. One of which was dividing my Holiday Bonus into thirds and being responsible with it! One third finished funding my emergency fund with the balance going into my HSA, one third went to a bill to pay it down, and then one third is all for me so I don’t feel like I never get to do anything for myself while I get my shit together. I also paid off one wee bill today. So I’m feeling good there.

Tomorrow will be a hike. And I will hike. Because that’s what you do. You get back on the horse.