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Badass of the Week #2

In honor of the upcoming holiday, I would like to honor The Fresh Meat Beat’s second featured badass: Mama Smackhouse.  My mother is probably the most energetic person you will ever meet.  She has a fetish for M&Ms, Snoopy, brightly colored objects (if it’s polka dotted + multi-colored= even better!) and a deal of any kind.  She’s smart, kind, and probably ADHD with a hint of OCD. 

I’m sure most of us take after our parents more than we care to admit- but in my case it’s probably not too bad of a thing to inherit the Mama Smackhouse traits. For every comment I get about being tough, having a lot of heart or spunk, or being suspiciously energetic- I thank my mother.  She taught me well and gave me good genes.  She is a badass- and a very brightly colored one at that.  Happy Mother’s Day tough lady.


Until we meet again

After a week of EVO (Emergency Vehicle Operations) training, I’m almost half way through academy.  More on my craptastic driving later, but I passed- so Mayor Power Ballard, Officer Smackhouse will see you again on August 12th for the 7th IMPD Recruit Class graduation.  


How to wear Lipstick and get chemical sprayed

Last weekend in roller derby world (it does exist- take the 2nd star to the right, straight on till you see the fishnets), the Naptown Roller Girls defeated the Ohio Roller Girls.  My memories of the weekend are a bit groggy since I was still feeling sick and sleepless.  However, one moment that stands out is a teammate’s comment before the bout.  As she strapped on her skates then applied her lipstick, she commented, “What!? I love that I’ve finally found a sport where I can kick ass and wear lipstick at the same time!” 

Another true tale regarding lipstick I recalled after my teammate’s comment is an account from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during WWII.  Shortly after the British Red Cross arrived at this camp, a very large quantity of lipstick arrived. An extract from the diary of Lieutenant Colonel Mervin Willett Gonin DSO :

This was not at all what we wanted, we were screaming for hundreds and thousands of other things and I don’t know who asked for lipstick. I wish so much that I could discover who did it, it was the action of genius, sheer unadulterated brilliance. I believe nothing did more for these internees than the lipstick. Women lay in bed with no sheets and no nightie but with scarlet red lips, you saw them wandering about with nothing but a blanket over their shoulders, but with scarlet red lips. I saw a woman dead on the postmortem table and clutched in her hand was a piece of lipstick. At last someone had done something to make them individuals again, they were someone, no longer merely the number tattooed on the arm. At last they could take an interest in their appearance. That lipstick started to give them back their humanity.

Perhaps thinking through these accounts influenced my out-of-character moment on Monday: I wore lipstick- not to roller derby practice, but accompanying my stylish phlegmy boots to police academy. To be clear- I wear lipstick about three times a year.  My bizarre Mary Kay moment may have been encouraged by the impending chemical spray certification scheduled that day, meaning I couldn’t wear any eye makeup.  I needed something to distract from the dark circles under my eyes. Pay no attention to the woman behind the tired eyes; look here at the bright red lips!  Or maybe I too love that I can be an athlete, beat boys in push ups, and be feminine.  Or maybe it was something to give me a little humanity during week 6 of police academy.  Whatever the case, I sure looked classy as I screamed in pain from the OC spray burning my retinas.  Hell, I might even break out the eyeshadow on Taser certification day.

The snot running out of my nose wiped off my lipstick at this point, so you're not getting the full effect of my femininity.


Frozen Eyeballs and True Love

I’m generally a sensible person, but throughout my life several acts of my stupidity have involved running. Let’s review the evidence:

  1. The time I ran across a frozen lake, only to discover it wasn’t quite frozen thoroughly.
  2. The time I spontaneously decided to become an ultra-runner after reading ‘Ultramarathon Man’. I woke up the morning after this inspirational read, and ran 25 miles after not running for months. My ultra-running quest was short-lived (did I mention I was also unemployed during this time? I get crazy ideas when I’m bored- like logging over 1500 miles in less than 4 months)
  3. The time I was chased by a pack of dogs and was bit (followed by a doctor’s appointment to check for rabies)
  4. The time I took a bathroom break during a long run, realizing later I’d used poison ivy leaves as my ‘toilet paper’ (followed by another doctor’s appointment, where the doctor literally laughed at me during my evaluation. Supposedly it was the worst case of poison ivy he’d ever seen).
  5. The time Dave and I went for a long run and discovered an opened box of Girl Scout cookies in the middle of the road. Yes, we ate them. In our defense: A. You’d be ravenous too after 3 hrs of running, and after a wrong turn we were still far from home. We were sure this was our last meal. B. They were Samoas– the best kind! I couldn’t pass up the toasted coconutty goodness.
  6. Topless run + on a Christian college campus = bad idea

As final confirmation of my poor running choices, I present to you the time I went running in sub-zero degree temperatures and severe wind in shorts. The following day my legs were still a mottled tomato-red, and I was having trouble walking. Day two- I could barely hobble, my legs were swollen and starting to bruise. A doctor’s assessment concluded I had cold urticaria. Wikipedia describes this condition as being allergic to the cold and developing hives or welts from a cold stimulus. That hardly does justice to the pain I incurred.

I thought my stupid running days were behind me; then yesterday happened. I ran to a CrossFit evening class, which means I had to run home afterwards. About two inches of snow collected during class, but it was the windy snow gusts that were most threatening. After mile one I was pretty sure I was going to be the first diagnosed case of frostbitten eyeballs. It wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen. In fact, I was feeling generous and thought about presenting my case to previously mentioned ‘poison ivy doctor’. But then my iPod died, and the cheery soundtrack to my run ceased. With the lack of Daft Punk to romanticize my snowy surroundings, frozen eyeballs seemed gloomier, and I upgraded the severity of my situation to death by frostbitten eyeballs. Thankfully, I made it home safely with my eyeballs intact.

I’ve realized now I’m addicted to running in extreme weather conditions. I’ve compiled the following graph to showcase that as extreme weather conditions go up (1= a lovely spring day, 10=eye of the hurricane), my running stupidity increases.

My rationale- On said lovely spring days, my neighborhood streets are packed with runners. Anybody can go running on a day like this (and good for them too!). However, this stimulates my desire to run on the challenging days, the days when I’m not surrounded by college girls preparing for spring break or fair-weather joggers. I enjoy the challenge, and I’m frankly not bothered by being cold, wet, muddy, or sweaty. Zero visibility? Even better! Potential loss of eyeballs? Fantastic!

However, remember my earlier cautionary tale of skinny-fatness? Here are some more words of good judgment from Sookie the Wise : Avoid running stupidity, but- challenge yourself. Run on the days even when you don’t feel like running. Lift something heavy even when you feel tired after 8 hrs in a cubicle. Be wise, know when your body needs rest, but try increasing your extreme weather to workout stupidity ratio just a bit. Developing discipline physically will serve you well outside of fitness goals too.

My evening ended on a better note, as Mr. Smackhouse returned home unaware of my evening run in the snow (shhh! We don’t tell him about these things!) and presented a “Be My Valentine” card. I asked, “Sweetie, would you be my valentine even if I didn’t have eyeballs?” He looked concerned, but said yes. Now that’s true love.

(Not quite Paleo- but here’s some edible frozen eyeball treats)


Mornings on the right side of the bed

Remember my earlier post on the importance of sleep? I heard an interesting book review on NPR the other day about a new science-fiction thriller titled “Sleepless“. The plot centers on a “devastating illness that renders the afflicted unable to sleep.” The sleepless illness is known as SLP, and after several month causes it’s victims to deteriorate and die. The insomnia plague slowly spreads across the country, as the author tracks its effects on society. Cities are overrun with riots and gun battles, while people are fighting over a newly developed drug called Dreamer which alleviates the wakefulness of the afflicted.

Nothing like some post-apocalyptic reading to cheer up your Friday morning! But it would be interesting to see how society would function if we all got a little more sleep. After two weeks with my self-imposed earlier bedtime, I’m waking up with more energy and better prepared for my day.

I’m trying out one other sleep goal after talking with Molly G. at Indy CrossFit. When her alarm goes off in the morning, she gets out of bed right away. I typically lay in bed for 5 minutes thinking about how much I do not want to go to work that morning or wondering what the WOD is going to be- generally negative thoughts. I committed this week to either 1. get out of bed immediately after the alarm, 2. if I stay in bed for those 5 minutes, I have to dwell on good things. I wasn’t successful with either until this morning. I literally popped out of bed, and it did my mind some good. I didn’t have time to be anxious about anything.  Then the birds outside my window started chirping, the sun started shining and I performed a choreographed dance number with Mr. Smackhouse. It looked a little something like this (albeit, mine was a little more impressive because it included rainbows, fairy dust, puppies and Christopher Walken. Gary Coleman also made a brief appearance.)


Peg Leg Petersohn examines optimism

I’m no Pollyanna, but not generally a Debbie Downer either. Over the past 48 hrs I’ve had the opportunity to challenge my optimism.  Remember my earlier post advising IMPD applicants to be patient during the application process? This is why:

Two days ago, my background investigator called to inform me academy had been pushed back to JUNE! This was the third postponement-  December 09 to Feb 8th to Feb 22nd to June 14th.  I was pretty upset to say the least.  I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to retain my current employment since I’d already submitted my resignation among other things.  To prepare physically, mentally and emotionally and then be told to hold back another 4 months is really frustrating.

Today I decided to look for temporary work from Feb-June, hoping academy wouldn’t get pushed back again. I was dialing the Census Bureau to inquire about positions, when my BI called again stating academy is back on for February 22nd.  I couldn’t be happier, but I’m also really glad for the past two days.  How many times do I think I have control over everything in my life? All the time!  You need reminders that- well, this is how my friend Beth puts it…

There is no security. It’s an illusion. We can’t control our circumstances. You could get a leg chopped off on the way home, or sitting in your chair there, and there’s nothing you can do. But good things can happen, too! Someone could walk up and hand you a wad of cash and a really good sandwich! My point is, the only control you have is your motivation and your response. Other than that, trust God.

I often think of optimism as viewing everything through rose-colored glasses, but I’d rather understand it as Beth says, “choosing my motivation and response”. Or I’ve also heard the quote:

I used to think I was an optimist; now I’m a prisoner of hope.

Either way, I’m certainly glad my leg was not chopped off on the way to work this morning.  Peg Leg Petersohn doesn’t have quite the same ring as Sookie Smackhouse.


don’t let skinny-fatness infect you! pick up a dumbbell today!

Several weeks ago I had a conversation about CrossFit with a woman who expressed interest in increasing her fitness level.  After our discussion she replied, “That sounds great, but I want to get in shape and I don’t really want to gain any muscle.”

What?!??  I took this to mean she wanted to work out to look skinny, but not necessarily be STRONG- which is in essence my definition of skinny-fat girls.

My premise: simply being skinny is not akin to being healthy.

One of my favorite Paleo/CrossFit bloggers Melissa Urban describes herself previously in this way: “I did a lot of long, slow distance cardio and carbo-loading in an effort to get “fit”, and only ended up skinny-fat, weak and sluggish.”  On the popularity of the diet-book “Skinny Bitch” , the ‘Moxy Boss’ also commented:

A diet with the word “skinny” in the title is not going to support my 140# front squat or 215# deadlift. Not to mention it misses the point entirely. I can eat nothing but oatmeal with Splenda and drink nothing but red wine and be SKINNY… but does that sound even REMOTELY healthy?

Here! Here! And may I add that my previous definition of healthy used to look something like this: (that’s me circa 2000- not looking like I could bear the name Smackhouse, let alone survive a hit from a fierce teammate of the Naptown Roller Girls)

My aforementioned friend also frustrated me with this comment regarding weight lifting, “I don’t really want to start looking like a man.”  Women still believe this myth? Check out these top 10 reasons heavy weights don’t bulk up the female athlete, or read this or  this or this.

Or how about this post on another one of my frequently read blogs:

Skinny-fatness strikes women a lot more than men. I think this is mainly because men aren’t afraid of lifting weights to lose weight (and, to be fair, men naturally do have so much more muscle and far less fat). We women, on the other hand, evidently prefer inventing bizarre and complicated diet regimens revolving around arcane preparation rituals, subsistence on one food group or arbitrary calorie limits (whoever said women were bad at math has never met a woman 2 weeks before her high school reunion or 2 days before a date).

So go pick up something heavy, then do it again, and don’t tell me you still care about your size 0 jeans.  (said with the utmost compassion, as clearly 10 years ago I did still care)

Loving this picture on the CrossFit site:

Kind of reminds me of my sister and I on her wedding day. Now that’s a beautiful bride!


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