74 days to Rexit

I just realized that I’m retiring in 74 days, Brexit is in 73 days. I have my own exit! The Rexit?

I skipped the gym last night, and although I planned to I did not, in fact, lift in my garage last night. I have to pick up in there before I lift, and I just wasn’t motivated to do that. I hung out in the Kraft Kave with all the animals and the space heater and Netflix. Fiddled with my budget quite a bit.

I just cannot see how I can keep my Honda Pilot. It’s a big expensive vehicle, and I don’t need its cargo capacity these days, since I quit dog sports. I’m basically a pet person now. I went and looked at the Honda Fit…hated it. Then I saw that there’s a new Civic Hatchback. Love it. I think I might try to swing a deal on one if I can manage it. Just turn in the Pilot and maybe lease the Civic. After three years I can either keep it and pay it off, or turn it in. Life happens and your needs change. I think the days where we kept one car for half a lifetime are long gone.

There is a giant storm coming in, so I’m doubting whether I should go to the gym today or not. It will be a long, scary drive in the rain after dark. I’m thinking about staying home and actually picking up in my garage. If I get a new car, it’s totally staying in the garage! Maybe I can get the Pilot in there later tonight if I do that. It’s certainly safer for it tucked in its bed.


75 days

I’m going to skip out of lifting for a few days. I have to work on my budget a little, and do some stuff around the house. Like fix the stupid fence again.

I have a garage gym, so I’ll follow along the team workout as best I can on my own. It’s better to have a coach, but just not doable right now. Some is better than none.

I’m kind of sad, a little. Most of the masters lifters qualified for the Master National. I think I could have…if I just went in and did powers. I kept the date of the last possible qualifying meet open FOREVER, hoping my coach would change his mind and take us. The week before, he posted the list of upcoming meets and that last one wasn’t on it. He said, no exceptions. So I called my friends and agreed to do something else that day. The next day, he’s like, hey masters, let’s go to this meet and all get qualified. Well guess what, too late, I’m busy that day. I admit, I was pretty upset about that for few days, but the reality is I’m nowhere near good enough to go to any national anything.

The problem is, of course, by this time next year, I won’t be able to afford to do anything like this. So I think, for me, competition is probably off the table. Probably for the best anyway.

Other than that, not much going on. I took a little sewing class yesterday and made my own yoga leggings. Not really good enough for lifting, but for hanging around the house I guess they are okay. I’ll rework the pattern a little bit once I retire and have a little more time.

79 days until Dobby is a Free Elf.

I’ve had a tough couple of weeks. TWO car accidents. One not my fault, and one was. These were within two days of each other! I think it’s a measure of how stressed I’ve been, and preoccupied, and just fatigued. Also, I just finished refinancing my house to pay off a debt before I retire. I plan to sell so I think the move was worth it. I redid my spare bedroom in my girl cave — lots of planning and shopping there.

I’ve just been…way to busy…way too stressed out…way too navel-gazey. It’s all going to work out! I need to trust myself and my abilities.

Last night at the gym, I kept missing lifts I usually make. Then when it actually got heavy, I started doing powers. Not on purpose, mind you. I’m more than strong enough to just herc that thing up there, so that’s what I unconsciously default to when I get scared. Coach comes over to see what’s up. I tell him this. He was really kind, he said, well you just have to learn to stop being scared. The only way to do that is more practice.

Soon, very soon, I’ll have more time to devote to lifting. And some cardio. I hate cardio. Maybe I will ask Coach for a conditioning circuit? A while back, I was teasing him a bit, saying I might try Crossfit. He just looked at me, disgusted, and said “No.” Then he walked away. ha ha!

80 days and counting!

Still on target with the budget revision, planning activities, and thinking about a part-time job.

A little more background about me:

Almost six years ago now, I decided I really had to do something about my health. I had been futzing around trying to jog on my own, trying to do my old dumbbell-based bodybuilding workout I used to do in my twenties at Muscle Beach. Yes the real Muscle Beach! It was so fun. But it’s not fun working out by yourself. At least not for me.

This is Muscle Beach in Venice, California!

So I walked into the local globogym, California Family Fitness. As you do, I met with the sales people and the manager there, who I remember was really funny and slightly hyperactive, asked me what I wanted to do. I said that I would really like to lift heavy stuff. Like, with a barbell. NO PINK DUMBBELLS. He was like, GREAT! I’ve got just the guy for you. I got teamed up with Justin that day. I ended up joining a special group that location has for older ladies who want to lift. It is powerlifting centered.

What is powerlifting? Well, in lifting in general, there’s five lifts. And a bunch of accessory lifts, but there’s five main lifts. Three are power lifts, in that, they are mainly strength-based. These three are: the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift. These three lifts are always done in competition to the maximum load the lifter can move. Here’s a great little YouTube video that will show you what Powerlifting is all about!

What’s with the remaining two lifts? The other two lifts involve strength, but also skill and mobility, because there is a change of direction of the barbell. These two lifts comprise Weightlifting, sometimes called Olympic Weightlifting, or the “Olys” for short. (note the capital W, this is very different than weightlifting or lifting weights — which you now know is all the accessory lifts that were invented to help train you to do the main five lifts!) These two lifts are the Snatch, and the Clean&Jerk.

Anyway, short story long, I joined that group and started powerlifting. I got strong fast! It turned out I was pretty good at this strength stuff. Why did I waste so much of my life trying to do cardio? It’s not what I’m built for.

Then, in the summer of 2016, I watched the Olympics. I recorded all the weightlifting I could find and watched every bit of it. I thought, well no way I can do a snatch, but that clean and jerk looks pretty awesome. I’d like to try that.

Easier said than done. Olympic weightlifting coaches are a rare breed. I felt that I needed a really good coach if I was going to try this. Your average Level 1 Crossfit dude just wouldn’t be knowledgeable enough to help an old lady out. At this point I was 58 years old. lol And remote coaching? For this? No way.

I made a list of every place I could find locally. I found six likely prospects. Three were kinda marginal Crossfit places. One was a pretty decent Crossfit place. Another was general conditioning only, despite what they said on their website. The last one turned out to be a pretty awesome powerlifting place. I resigned myself to giving up this dream and just transitioning to the awesome powerlifting place. Then somebody who I barely knew on Facebook said, “Go see Ben, he’s great.”

I emailed this guy, he calls me back right away, which really surprised me. We had a little phone interview, then he invited me to come in and do a test workout. Which was more, what are you capable of and do I really want to coach you, than do you want to work out here. Somehow, he agreed to coach me, no idea why. I’m sure he regrets his choices every day. lol

I’d be lying if I said I was any good. I have fun. I try to not worry about it too much. I don’t really belong there. I’m 20 years older than the next oldest lifter. That’s a LOT.

But compared to six years ago, I’m so much stronger. My shoulders aren’t slumped forward. My posture is great — I don’t do that leaning forward – short step walk that so many of my cohorts have. I get called to help people move furniture all the time. I can squat-sit like a toddler.

Last Monday, the workout was muscle snatches. I’d never done them before. Coach had me start with the empty bar. I popped it right up there, and I was surprised! He says, add the 5s, to make a total weight of 25kgs. He was watching me pretty closely, I did the 5 reps, then the overhead squat as the final rep. He gave me a “good!”. He doesn’t pass out a lot of compliments! I was like, cool, I’ve got this. Then I look over at one of the other master lifters, she’s about 20 years younger. She’s got just the bare bar. Powerlifters RULE.

I need to lose fat though. For 2019, that’s my primary focus. Secondary focus is improving my clean&jerk and continuing to build on the snatch. It’s been a long road! But I can’t wait to see what comes!

Keep lifting!

81 days and a little stressed out

Yesterday was a fun day, I made the announcement at work. But last night, at the gym (someday I will write about my gym, it’s not your usual gym!), I started to feel really super stressed out.

my gym ❤

I’m worried that I won’t have enough money in my budget to be able to continue my weightlifting. I guess I’ll have to wait and see and just get about things and do what I need to do to survive.

I don’t care about too much other than lifting. I know most folks want to travel, or ?? Honestly, I can’t imagine a life without throwing around very heavy items.

The good news is, I need to lose some weight, so if I run out of money for food, I’ll just fast. Kill two birds with one stone.

82 Days and it’s official

Today I officially applied for retirement. I have 23 years of service in the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS). I get a pretty good pension, but it will be tough as my house will eat me alive.

I’m going to spend the next year or so fixing up my house, then sell it and find something smaller. I’m tired of maintaining such a big house. It’s only 1600 sqft but for one person that’s just way too big. I’d like something under 1000 sqft. With no yard to maintain — I will be retired and can walk my dogs like six times a day if I want.

85 days


So, I took a break over the holidays to relax, think, and try to not stress out so much over everything.  It was a much-needed time away. In that time, it occurred tome that I used to keep a “Bullet Journal”, and it helped keep me on track a little better. I do tend to get scattered and lose track of priorities!


I took some time yesterday to set a new one up. I kept it pretty simple. I know some folks make them into an art project — while that is admirable, it doesn’t meet my priority list at all.

I set up a daily reminder for January, a goals list for January, and a habit tracker for January.  I’ll set how I like it, February might bring more improvements!

One thing I am a bit torn about is that I have ANOTHER journal, one I carry with me all the time. It’s my “Gym Gypsy” book. This is a book that allows you to log meals, track macros, log your cardio, and your lifts. You can record PRs in there too on a monthly basis. I divide the cardio section into a smaller section for cardio, and a larger portion below for tracking expenses.  I really don’t want to carry two books, so Gym Gypsy is my go-to. I’ll keep the bullet journal at home in my girl cave and log into it each night before bed. At least I hope I will!

Oh and here is my girl cave/crafting/sewing space, I absolutely love it in here: