Celebrate 2011!

I think it's time we took a moment to celebrate 2011.  Let's revel in what we accomplished and the ways in which 2011 was the best year ever!  What, 2011 sucked, you say?  Oh, and it's over, anyway, you say?  Everyone else has already made and broken their New Year's resolutions?  Ok, fine, I admit, I thought about posting this a week or two ago, and never got around to writing up the post.  :p (raspberries).  And, yeah, it wasn't absolute tops, as years go, but in looking back, it really had its moments. 
For me, it all started when my beloved employer of the last 6 years decided to can my department and outsource the function to a consulting firm.

You mean they don't simply adore me and everything I do????
Yeah, you could say I freaked out.  Up to that point, I considered myself to be pretty much in control of my life.  I was slightly shaken to discover that my fate was actually in the hands of others all along.  But, fear not.  In the end, I found a new job and revelled in saying "Adios" to the new consulting group.  Yay, me!

All jobs are not made equal, however.  I had a hard time adjusting to the new workload.  It was not quite what I was accustomed to.
I love a challenge.
In the end, I decided to use my new-found free time to try some new things.  Crazy Ass and I had often talked about how life-changing running had been for us, and how we should write a book or blog about our experiences on the trail.  Tortoise Running was born.
Sharing my transformation from couch potato to runner.

 This blog has been a great way for me to share my love of running.  It's also helped hold me accountable, since I'd kinda feel like a jackass writing about running if I wasn't actually doing it!  So, yay, me!  I started a blog!

A normal person would probably consider starting a new job and a new blog all in one year quite an achievement.  Enough new, right?  WRONG.  My new co-workers were quite an inspiration to me.  They helped me try many a new thing in 2011.

Every single person on my new team was a swimmer.  Most of them enjoyed going for a swim during lunch at the local pool.  I remembered the days when I thought I could swim.  I proudly passed "Advanced Beginner" swim level as a kid.  I was so proud, I joined the swim team, only to be told by the coach to "Go practice in the baby pool until you get this swimming thing figured out."  Oh.  I guess I can't swim.  This painful memory did not stop me from enjoying a lunchtime swim with my co-workers.

My fears of swimming were two-fold:
1.  That I would drown. 
2.  That people were seeing me in a swimsuit.

My goal in swimming was simply to get enjoyment from the activity. I have to say, there were at least two times when I said to myself as I moved my arms in rhythm through the pool: "I'm not going to die.  This is kind of fun!"  Yay me!

Ok, so new job, new blog and swimming.  That's enough new for one year, right?  WRONG.  Boredom can inspire all kinds of new adventures.

Neuromuscular Integrative Action.  Huh?  Yeah, I actually like to call it hippie dancing.  They offer it at the local rec center.  A co-worker and I decided to try it one day when it was too cold to run and the Master's swimmers had taken over the swim lanes.

No, this isn't me.  It's actually the hippie-chic NIA instructor.
 NIA was a blast.  Creative movement, set to a rockin' Seal soundtrack.  Hells, yeah, I rocked it out.  I totally would have gone back, except I felt a little picked on by the instructor.  I'm sure I'm being overly sensitive, but she said things like: (as I freely swung my hips from side to side) "Do not swing your hips.  This isn't Zumba." and "If you're new, you should find a spot in the back.  It can be really disruptive to others if you don't know what you're doing" (looks at me.) and "You need to put that water bottle away" (stare-down.)  For the record, I do not approve of creative types who put limits and rules on the creativity of others.  Ahem.  Also, it's a barefoot class and my co-worker couldn't walk for a week because of the bruising she suffered on the bottoms of her feet.  Anyway, lousy instructor and that foot bruising thing not-withstanding, NIA can be a really fun way to exercise.  If I had a class near my house, I would use it to improve my non-existent dance skills, because it is super easy and fun.  Check out this video for an example of what NIA should be: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgfiwVaqNSs.  Doesn't that just look like a blast?  Oh, and did you notice all the hip swinging?  I did.

So that's it, right?  That concludes the new stuff I tried this year, right?  You know that's not it.  I have to include P90X, yoga and kayaking in the list of my attempts to stave off boredom in 2011.  And last but not least...


I think it goes without saying how well this went
A local social artworking establishment inspired a rash of paintings in my household.  Yes, I decided everyone on my Christmas list must get a homemade gift from moi.  I think the artwork included in this post has made it obvious the pure talent I posess when it comes to art.  I just know everyone loved the heartfelt gifts I gave them.  I can hear it now: "Thank you so much for the painting of a horse's butt.  I found the perfect spot for it.  You know that space in the cabinet under the sink, right behind the garbage can?  I never noticed how much it needed a piece of artwork!"  It's funny how, at 38 years old, I still want to hold up my latest work to my mom and say "Look what I did, Mommy!"  and hear "Oh, it's beautiful, honey.  I love it!"  There is a little five year old in all of us.  But only adults can paint AND drink wine at the same time.  Yay, me!

As I look to the year ahead, I hope to hold on to some of the adventures that began in 2011.  I plan to keep on blogging, kayaking and painting.  Even though I am moving on to a new job, I plan to hold tight to the new friendships I built this year, and look forward to many more.  Oh, yeah, and I hope to do a lot more of this:

Not painted by me.  I did it with that artistic effects thingie in Word.  Cool though, huh?

Happy 2012!  Make it a good one!


AeRoss said...

Great post and you have way more painting talent then I!

Tortoise said...

Hey, thanks Alex! Be careful or you will be the next recipient of a fabulous macaroni necklace.

Grandma Becky said...

Becky, you amaze me. Among your many talents, you are a fantastic writer. You could write a book about jogging, swimming and dancing, illustrated with your amazing artwork. Of course that wouldn't tell the whole tale of how beautiful you sing, what a great mom and wife you are and how you tolerate your in-laws. Maybe you could include chapters on those topics too, and just call your book - "Hints From An Amazing Woman"

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Cool artistic effect - I haven't seen that before! Here's to a great year of running and more in 2012!

Tortoise said...

Grandma Becky, you are too sweet! Can't wait until you start your blog. I bet it will be hilarious!

Lisa, thanks! I had a lot of fun with my kids' crayons!

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