Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Time to review and look ahead...

Wow. This year has gone so fast and I can't stand that!

2009 has been a good year for us. There have been lots of changes, lots of challenges and lots of successes. I'll start by reviewing my goals for the year. The great thing about my blog is that I can look back and see what I said at this time last year. Here is what I said my goals were for 2009 and in bold, what I say about them now"

1. Continue to improve upon my swimming - get at least two pool workouts a week.
Work towards a 1/2 Iron man triathlon in August and be ready for it, complete it and be satisfied with my performance.
Done! My swimming really improved this year. I put a lot of time and effort into it. I completed the 1/2 Ironman in August and I felt great during the entire event. The swim was uneventful, I felt peaceful and calm and got out of the water ready to face the rest of the event. My half marathon time that day (after swimming and biking for over 4 hours) was the same as my previous free standing half marathon time. I loved this event. I loved training for it and completing it.

2. Live on a budget. Ugh. I think I say that every year...this year...I really mean it.
No comment.

3. Open our second store by the end of summer 2009.
We opened our second location on August 25th.

4. Fully embrace every change that is made at my job.
I no longer work at the job I was referring to here. This was one of those instances where my goal was ridiculous - my goal should have been to get the hell out of there before the year was over!

5. I also plan to work on not taking things so personal and letting at least some things roll off my back instead of jamming me up.
I used to make a goal every New Year's to be nicer. I stopped doing that because my heart wasn't in it, this goal will fall into that same category. I get jammed up. So be it.

So you can see, its been a good year! Our lives has changed a lot this year - we added two more pets - for a total now of 7. We made it through another year with all of the animals still with us. We have 4 of them over the age of 12, so that is an accomplishment. Everyone has been pretty healthy too - we had a few scares, but nothing too major.

This was the year of fitness for us - I would say that we were in the best shape of our lives this year. Between Trevor's MMA Fight in March, the triathlon in August and the marathon in October, we rocked it this year.

We have less than we have ever had - our income is much lower, we own less stuff, we took fewer trips and we are happier than we have ever been. Just goes to show that you don't need things to be happy. I am glad we learned that while we were still pretty young.

Time to look ahead. What do I want from 2010?
1. Continue to promote our businesses and a healthy lifestyle to our customers. We are promoting some events in 2010 - a half marathon, a 10k/5k, two triathlons. I want to do more of that. We are also getting our triathlon coaching certifications in January.

2. I want 2010 to surpass 2009 as the fittest year ever! August will bring the Ironman Canada. My goal is to spend all year training for this event and to complete it under the time limit, be safe, feel good and be happy with my performance.

3. We have two marathons before the Ironman, one in April, one in June. I want both to be better times than my Portland time in October (5 hours 14 minutes).

4. Spend time with our pets every single day.

5. I would like to make a trip back east this year. Its been too long since I've been back there and I miss it.

I may add to this list, but I find that 5 main goals are achieveable. Any more than that and I lose focus.

2010 is the beginning of another decade. The last 10 years have been awesome (I met Trevor in July of 2000), I want the next 10 years to be even better. I wish the same for you.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Holiday letter

Every year my mom sends out a holiday letter with her Christmas Cards - telling everyone how our year went. I get a few of these from others as well and I have to tell you, I LOVE THEM. I love to hear about people's lives. I know it takes time, thought and effort to get those out and I appreciate that. I don't take any of that (time, thought or effort) and so no letter and even worse, no cards. Ugh. This year I haven't even put up the tree. I am going to take out my ornaments and visit with them, even though they won't get to hang on the tree this year.

If you read my blog regularly, you have gotten my Holiday letter in pieces all year long! I'm going to do a recap here...if I WERE to put out a letter, it would go like this...

2009 was a good year in the Bryant house. We have lots of plans and goals, most of which came to fruition this year. Some unexpected things appeared on our doorstep and we welcomed them with open arms!

January was a good month for our business - our first Max Muscle Sports Nutrition store really hit the ground running in January. Everyone was making resolutions to lose weight and be healthy. We were there to help!

February seems so long ago! We celebrated the 6th anniversary of my 29th birthday! 35 - hard to believe it.

March was a busy month for us - we headed to Denver for a few days for our nephew Bryce's 1st birthday party. Grammie Richards was there. We also got to visit with some friends from college that I have been out of touch with for about 10 years. It was so good to see Shellie, Matt and Tom - it was like no time had passed. At the end of March, Trevor had his first Mixed Martial Arts amateur cage match. He did not win, but he put up a great fight. It was a life changing time for us - click here to read all about it and watch the video if you can stand it!

Trevor broke his leg in the fight and was out of commission for a few weeks. At the end of March we officially began training for the Lake Stevens Half Ironman Triathlon AND the Portland Marathon. We were assistant coaches for Vancouver Fit, which is a 26 week training program. We met the most amazing, inspiring people, many of whom are now friends.

In April we went on our first and probably last cruise. We had won a gift certificate at an event and finally used it. It was good to get away, but wasn't as great as I had hoped.

Trevor graduated college in May with his Bachelor's degree. This was the end to a two year journey of night, weekend and online classes. I was really proud of him. It took a lot of hard work and dedication and he saw it through to the end.

June brought several surprises. The first was our initial triathlon of the season and the surprise was how difficult it was. I went into shock over what we were planning for the rest of the season and needed some serious talking to by some good friends to get myself back on track. The next surprise was a new addition to our family - a cat named Norwyn. That makes 4 cats for those of you keeping track. He showed up on our deck on night and wasn't leaving, so we brought him into our home and he became a part of our family.

July - another busy month full of triathlon training. This was the month that I really started to own my experiences with the multi-sport events. We completed our first Olympic distance triathlon and I have never felt more strong. In July we also celebrated our 9 year dating anniversary.

August was a big month - we celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversay by completing a Half Ironman Triathlon. 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run. The 30 seconds before crossing the finish line were the most exhilirating seconds of my life. It made every minute of training and sacrafice worth it. I crossed that line and said to myself "there is nothing you can't do". Doing this with Trevor made it even better.

August was a big month for our business as well - we won the "Outstanding Store of the Year" award for our first store and opened our second store at the end of the month.

September brought one more triathlon and a focus on the upcoming Portland Marathon. The end of the month brought yet another surprise - a new puppy named Maggie. For those of you counting, that makes 3 dogs. Its a zoo here.

October was the marathon. I had a great day and overcame my previous experience with the marathon, which was not good. Trevor did not have such a good day - he stepped in a hole and broke his foot at mile 6. Another four weeks of being out of commission! I was blessed in October when the Phillies went to the World Series again and allowed me the opportunity to watch them on TV!

October 30th was my last day at The Oregonian. We parted ways and that was probably best for both of us. I loved working there and don't miss it one bit.

November brought a new addition to the Richards' side of the family, my brother and his wife had another baby. We'll go see him early next year.

Now December - Trevor turned 36. Holiday parties, catching up with friends. We lost a friend this December - Jake Jacobsen passed away, along with his brother in law Rick. This was a sad way to end the year.

As we prepare for 2010, we are looking back on this year. It was a good year - lots of things to be proud of. We are enjoying our family of animals and every day feel blessed that we have added to it and not lost any from it. Trevor and I are grateful for all that we have.

This would be my letter, if I were to write one!! I'll be preparing my year in review on our goals and thinking of goals for next year. Life is all about moving forward. That is what we plan to do now and always.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"This just sucks"

I've been wanting to write this post for a few days, but my computer has been out of commission, thanks to Maggie and her chewing. Its all fixed and now I can get all my thoughts out of my head and onto my blog!!

Saturday afternoon was the funeral/memorial service for our friend Jake and his brother in law, Rick. Rick was a firefighter, so the service was very official and full of tradition. Jake worked for Snap-on Tools. It was a sight to behold.

There was a procession of fire trucks and Snap-on vans that traveled to all three fire houses in the area. There was a sea of uniformed firemen and women and Snap-on jackets and hats.

Trevor worked for Snap-on for about 10 years. When I met him, that's where he worked. It was a family and they welcomed me in right away. This job consumed our lives, we truly lived Snap-on. Still today, there are alot of things in our house that are Snap-on. When Trevor worked there, all his clothes has the Snap-on logo. It was a big family. We spent a lot of time together and really got to know people. Like any family, not everyone got along all the time, but they were still a family.

When Trevor left Snap-on, we knew that we were kind of divorcing the family. There are a few people that we still keep in touch with, but for the most part, we moved on to a different life. We haven't seen many of these people in over three years.

It was a very strange feeling to see all these people who used to be our life. When we walked in, Tammy, who used to work at the Branch office gave us both a Snap-on pin with a black and red ribbon. We still felt like part of the family.

The service was moving and sad, just as you would imagine the funeral of two 40 something men who died unexpectedly would be. I really didn't want to break down, so I kept my mind as removed from the situation as I could. Sitting next to me was one of the men that Trevor worked with. Trevor was a field manager and there were about 12 other guys who had the same job. Jake was one of them. They had Field Manager meetings once a month - they all got together and spent the day in meetings. I looked over and the guy next to me was holding the program with the picture of Jake on it. It hit me hard - these guys used to all sit in a room together and now, they were all sitting in a room together because one of them was dead. I kind of lost it then.

After the service we went to talk to Jake's wife Kay for a minute. We waiting in line as a sea of people waited to get a minute with Kay. She was standing there all alone and it again hit me - she is all alone. When we got to talk to her she turned and looked at us and said, "he always loved you guys". We talked about a few things and then she said, "this just sucks". No words could say more than that.

So many times you go to funerals and people are like "they are in a better place" and "I'm doing okay". To hear Kay say that her husband and brother beind dead sucked, really got to me - because it does suck and nothing will ever make it better.

We headed for home and I couldn't stop thinking about how this used to be something we were so much a part of. Now, after all these years, we are a part of other things, we have moved on - but a little piece of us will always be with the Snap-on family and vice versa.

I don't miss it and I don't want to go back, but I can now appreciate it for what it was...a way of life....a family...of which, we were lucky to be a part.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Love it when people surprise me...in a good way...

I am a very skeptical person. I expect the worst of everything and everyone. You have to win me over. I think its in my blood, I don't trust anyone and it takes a lot to earn my trust. I usually hate something before I even give it a chance. Great qualities...I know...but I'm being truthful here.

I am working to be more open-minded about things and people. I've been doing a lot of networking lately and am consiously keeping myself open to these new people. Shutting down will defeat the purpose of networking.

We have been working with a new training at our store - he puts on a bootcamp class two nights a week at his gym. I went to one of the classes a few weeks ago and watched. Afterwards, I did a nutrition seminar. The class was very straightforward, one minute at each station, 10 seconds between. All the stations were basic - push ups, planks, squats, stair machine. I actually thought to myself "How easy is that?"

Trevor and I signed up to take the class one night a week and I told Trevor he'd probably feel like the workout wasn't enough. HOLY CRAP was I wrong. We've done two weeks of the class so far and it has just about killed me. seriously. What the hell is that about? My heart rate is super high, my muscles burn, I sweat like a maniac. This guy is good.

I love that. I love that I was surprised and it makes me feel good to know that I was wrong. The Universe is punishing me for doubting. My body is completely wiped out today and I like that....alot....

Monday, December 7, 2009

It can all change in an instant.

We've been so busy these last few weeks, Saturday was no different. We were up early to workout, then headed to our 10K Holiday Fun Run with friends, then to drop the truck off to have the snow tires put on, then home to clean up and get ready to go to a party, then to come home and host our annual Oregonian holiday party. Early afternoon, Trevor got a text message from our friend Donnie that said, "did you hear about Jake". Jake is someone that Trevor worked with at Snap-on Tools for about 10 years. He and his wife Kay were at our wedding, we've spent many a Snap-on trip with them. They were a daily part of our life for many years.

We haven't seen much of Jake and Kay in the three years since Trevor left Snap-on. There is so much turmoil going on in that company, just like every where else, we never really know who is coming and who is going. Trevor read that text to me and I said, "I hope he means that he was let go, laid off or fired...not that he's dead". A text like that could really only mean one of those two things and we certainly didn't want him to be dead.

Trevor texted back "no" and a minute later the phone rang. It was Donnie and Jake was dead. He died in a car accident earlier that day in Montana. He, his brother in law and nephew were headed to pick up a vintage fire truck. That was their hobby. His brother in law was a firefighter and Jake loved the trucks. Every year they'd drive them in the local parade.

They had the trailer on their truck and when they hit an icy patch on an overpass, the trailer jack-knifed, the truck seperated from the trailer and went over the guardrail, landing on its top. Jake and his brother in law Rick were killed instantly, his nephew is in the hospital.

I cannot wrap my mind around this. I cannot understand how Kay got the phone call. I will never understand how she and the others will go on. I know there is no choice but to go on, I just don't understand it.

My heart aches for Kay. It was always just she and Jake. They had no children, just like Trevor and I. Both had good jobs, both worked hard and dedicated their lives to their respective companies. I think of our life and try to imagine it without one of us and I can't. I know Kay it a tough lady and can do anything, survive anything. I am just so sad about this for her and the rest of her family.

I am always struck by how things like this can change your life in a second. A single moment in time and nothing is every the same again. There will be an outpouring for these families, a circle of love and support. But things will never be the same.

We went on with our day Saturday, every little bit, we'd look at each other and say "I can't believe that Jake is dead". Still hard to believe, such a tragedy. Rest in Peace Jake.