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Sunday, May 31, 2015


Yesterday's workout at Iron Body Studios was a scorcher.  Burned my ass but felt great.  I then when to Wilson's Farm in Lexington.  Later I did a little gardening.  Then I crashed.  The ultimate in tired.  Sleep is important for recovery so it was an early to bed Saturday night.

So back to this...

It is the first bud on one of my grape plants.  The other grape plant also has a bud but it is too small to photograph.  I have wanted to grow grapes forever and, last year when I saw my sister's grape vine with grapes, I knew this was the year. 

I am beyond excited.  I wasn't sure this dormant grape plant would come alive.  I ordered them online and when they arrived I didn't read all the instructions.  I stopped at keep in a cool, dry space.  Actually, the roots are suppose to be kept wet...hmmmm.  Fail or so I thought.

My sister had this big, beautiful grape vine.  Mine won't be as big.  I am attempting a smaller trellis.  We shall see. 

And did you can use the young, tender grape leaves to make stuffed grapes leaves.  Nope, neither did I until my friend Kat told me that is what she did with hers.  My future may hold wine and stuffed grape leaves in a couple years.

More planting has been done and I love sharing photos...

Tomatoes (Right now we have 22 tomato plants in the ground.  There are many different varieties many which are Romas for sauce.)

in the raised bed.

in a pot



Eggplant, a variety of peppers, spaghetti squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes and butternut squash has also been planted.  The asparagus from two years ago is flourishing. 

These guys are waiting to be planted...

Even with a small space you can grow a large variety of vegetables.  Its healthy and you know where your food is grown!

Friday, May 22, 2015


In my post on Tequila, I promised a review of the French wine tasting I attended at Kappy's.  I took copious notes and was looking forward to sharing my insights.  The unfortunate part of the story is I can't find those the moment.  Oh I will find them.

So to make up for the lack of a French wine review, I headed to Mill River Winery in Rowley, MA to participate in their Friday after work happy hour.  Tonight was a sampling of their Sangria complete with Mexican appetizers.  At the same time, all their wines are available by the glass. 

I was prepared to take voluminous pictures with my old blackberry to share.  I was so caught up in the moment that they only picture I took was this....and yes the sign says Mill River Winery.

Their story....  

Rick & Donna’s story is about friendship, chemistry and hard work.
Pair Donna, a Ph.D. chemist, with Rick, an accomplished amateur wine maker, add Dodge’s Cider Mill, a year’s worth of renovations and a dedicated team of employees here we are – Mill River Winery.
Located on 3.3 acres of the picturesque North Shore of Massachusetts, our winery reflects the history and charm of this area that we call home. We opened in July 2011, with a mission of producing handcrafted wines using the finest grapes from Massachusetts and other notable wine regions.  Our 2010 Naked Chardonnay was awarded a silver medal by the American Wine Society  and was a sign of great things to come.
We love wine making and its perfect combination of science, precision, passion and fun.  We can think of no greater fortune than knowing that when you raise your glass with family and friends, our wines will be part of your enjoyment.
We hope to meet you soon at Mill River Winery!
 Donna Martin & Rick Rousseau
Winemakers and Owners

You all know I love buying local.  So after a couple of glasses of wine onsite, I had to buy a couple bottles of my favorite wine, Mill River Winery Plantation.  It is as dry a red wine you can get.  The bartender was very excited when I ordered it.  She said it was her favorite and that it hadn't been in stock for a few months.  Tonight was the first time it was available in awhile.  If you love really dry red wines get some before it is gone.

They also made a Merlot a couple years ago that was fantastic.  Hopefully, they are planning a second batch. 

I am typically not a white wine drinker.  Their white wines, in particular the Plum Island White, are way too sweet for me.  If you like sweet white wines, I say give them a try. 

Because sometimes in life you need a good glass of wine and a good cry or sometimes you need to raise a glass to someone in your life who was very special...I purchased the Mill River Winery Riesling as a gift.

The three pack.

You can find them at  

And just because I love this shirt I want to share a picture!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Not a surprise to many of you I'm sure.  Here is the thing.  I needed two 25 pound KBs at home to help with my training.  I have to say I am a tad disappointed.  This is my 4th CAP KB.  I have a 45 pound and two 35 pounds.  They are beautiful.  This new one is not so beautiful.  The underside of the handle has some burrs and metal pieces.  At the moment it doesn't feel so great. 

As you may know, I made the decision to sign up for the certification.  After a week-end, a Monday and a Wednesday of really strong training, I am glad I did.  After a great work-out on Saturday I formulated a more interesting blog post.  However, it is now Wednesday and that interesting blog idea is long gone.   

Let me just say my snatch feels like it is making progress.  I feel like there is hope.  This morning I did a more relax snatch test with the 8 KG kettlebell.  I did 10 rounds of 10 on the left and 10 on the right in 10.5 seconds. 

There are several other related worries but I've decided to relax and enjoy the process. 


Wednesday, May 13, 2015


StrongFirst certification...StrongFirst certification...StrongFrist certification....StrongFirst certification

Those words seem to be my common refrain for these past few months.  I am so on a fence here.  The problem is I have always believed in my ability to conquer these challenges.  I have always feel strong enough to approach a challenge with the expectation of being successful.  I believe deep in my heart that I am mentally and physically strong.

Until now...This week I received an email from StrongFirst letting me know there are only 8 spots left for the Boston (Somerville actually) Level 1 certification. 

I am trying to figure out if it is my body holding me back or my mind (and the thought of spending all that money if my body isn't operational does make me crazy).

Artemis at Iron Body Studios wrote the perfect motivation blog post this week.  It is worth a read.  It speaks to commitment, dedication, and focusing on a goal.

Artemis - Iron Maiden Challenge

and I thought, "I've got this!"  "I can do this." 

But what if it really feels like my body isn't cooperating.  For example, I have always been proud of my ability to squat.  Ass to the grass baby.  I could barbell squat 75 pounds and easily squat two 12 pound KB.  Not so much this week.  Okay, not just this week but recently.  It just isn't feeling right.  That is just one example.

Then I think, for me, it isn't always about the end result.  I enjoy the process.  The process of training and the process of participating in the program.

Or maybe I am just waiting for the class to fill up so I can say to all of you and myself, "Ya, I was going to do the certification but the class filled up before I could sign up." 

I feel like a yoyo here.

My question to you is...What would you do?

If you are really interested in what this is all about, check out this article...

Monday, May 11, 2015


Life isn't just about exercise, gardening and eating healthy food.  Sometimes you just need to drink some tequila.  A couple Saturdays ago Kappy's in Peabody had a Grand Tequila tasting.  Good tequila is expensive.  Who wants to buy expensive tequila only to find out you don't like that particular brand?  It was absolutely necessary for me to attend the Grand Tasting to learn a little bit more about tequila.

The very first Tequila I tried was the one I purchased.  Casa Noble Anejo!

The company says, "Tequila Casa Noble Anejo is our most refined Tequila, this exquisite Tequila is matured in French White Oak barrels for two years and extra aged to perfection. This limited production spirit exhibits a deep golden tone, has an exceptional bouquet and body, and ranks among the finest distilled spirits in the world. It is beautifully contained in an artisan purple glass decanter."

It was very smooth.  No need for lime or salt. 

Interesting fact I did not know until I did a little research is that in 2011 Carlos Santana became a part owner of Casa Noble. 
Casa Noble Anejo

I also enjoyed Excellia Anejo and Roca Patron.  I did not buy either.  The Roca Patron Anejo had great flavor but it was $90.00. 

The most interesting aspect of the Grand Tasting was Mezcals.  I did not really know what Mezcals were or what made them different from tequila.  On a very basic level I learned that they are not aged and they are smoked.  The most interesting were the single village Mezals from Del Maguey.  The several, 7 to be exact, all had various intensities of smokiness.  A couple were way too smoky.  One was too sweet.  The one I really enjoyed was the following:

Tequila Casa Noble Anejo is our most refined Tequila, this exquisite Tequila is matured in French White Oak barrels for two years and extra aged to perfection. This limited production spirit exhibits a deep golden tone, has an exceptional bouquet and body, and ranks among the finest distilled spirits in the world. It is beautifully contained in an artisan purple glass decanter.

Kappy's puts on great tastings.  They put out salsa, chips and quacamole.  Excellent.  I went to their French Wine Tasting which was spectacular.  I will report on that later.

Saturday, May 9, 2015


I decided to use this blog to track and keep aware of my health and my training.  I lose track of time and what is going on.  So sometimes you may roll your eyes and say, Oh, no not again."  Please bear with me. 

I woke up feeling really good today.  My hands feel much better.  They are not 100%, but better.  They feel able to lift some heavy shit.  My head feels less foggy and I woke up feeling refreshed.  So...Iron Body Studios here I come.  One day I feel like giving up and the next I feel hopeful.  Guess that is life.

Friday, May 8, 2015


My pretty 25 pound kettlebell

Just a quick update...I am still up in the air as to whether or not I will be ready for the SFG certification.  I am still up in the air because of this crazy ass RA flare.  The hands are still not working properly and I can't say the feet are feeling great either.  That being said...I am still trying.

To be successful, I need to correctly complete a whole bunch of exercises with a 12 KG kettlebell.  12 KG is a little bigger than the 25 pound bell I use at home.

I had a fairly decent workout today.  I can still use the 25 pounder to do Turkish Get Ups, Swings, Overhead Presses and Overhead Carries.  I've cut down my training just a little but I don't feel as if I have lost any strength.

Here in lies the problem....I cannot snatch 15 pounds never mind 25 pounds. 

I tried doing a swing, high pull, snatch ladder on the right with the 15 pound.  It just didn't feel right.  I feel more comfortable using an 8 pound but....maybe I am just overthinking everything.

Beautiful, terrifying, powerful, and badass all at the same time...

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Broccoli and Snatching

Tis the season to is not too cold to plant broccoli.  Actually, I could have planted it a bit earlier.  It is in the ground now and before you know it I will have more broccoli than I know what to do with...

One of the best ways to eat healthy is to plant your own food.  You know where it comes from and you know what's been done to it.  It is as fresh as it gets.  Start small and then the sky is the limit.   

New addition to my garden this year will be container corn.  We shall see how that works.  I have done corn in the past several times but it is not my favorite.  It takes up a lot of space and the squirrels seem to know when it is done before I do.
Some good growing ideas to check out.

SNATCHING!  Ya have to KB snatch if you want to get certified...

Janice had asked what a snatch photo from yesterday was a barbell snatch.  First, here is a video of Artemis at Iron Body Studios doing a chain of swings, high pulls and lastly a snatch. 

Next up is a barbell snatch...Tamara Reynolds at Asheville Strength

Monday, May 4, 2015


So...I do not post many pictures of myself especially my "athletic" pictures.  I never think they look good enough.  Actually I usually think they look like a shit show.  Pretty harsh words I know but that is what I think.

For this blog, I decided to try to look at them a little look at them and be proud.  I am not only going to look at them but I am going to post them here for everyone to see....gasp!  I love the many different things I did and I want to share some of them.  There are others and I will share once I find them.

Danskin Triathlon Finish Line
I had a very difficult time with the swim on this day.

Learning to snatch at the First Radiance Retreat
in Asheville, NC

My very first Hyannis.  I was riding a hybrid.  Most
difficult part was trying to rack the bike in transition.
Friendliest and most helpful group of people.

Philly Tri.  Did this tri three times.  I loved Philly.

Start of one of the Philly tri's.

Getting ready...Philly Tri.  This is one of my favorites.

Iron Body Studios - I am not afraid to lift


Boxing with the Stone Tower Spartans.  I hate this picture.

Group picture at the dinner at the 2nd Radiance Retreat in
Venice Beach, CA

Just finished Reid's Ride last year - hilly fun ride
28 miles in under 2 hours.  Might be slow for
you but that felt like a great ride for me.

Me...after a deadlift PR

That would be me again after a deadlift PR. 

That is all for now.  I have more tri and road race pictures I will share...eventually.