Quarter-century down

Best birthday ever!

After a mere month of blogging, things got busy and I forgot to keep it up. Not good. In my defense, it’s been somewhat of a crazy week. To begin: I turned 25 last Thursday. If I’d gotten my wishes, this would have been a completely forgettable occasion. Aging ceased being fun after the 21st birthday. However, my birthday ended up being a surprisingly great time.

After ringing things in at midnight on the 9th with some of my favorite people in the world, I was completely ready to leave work a little bit early the next day when Xavier asked me to. (I’m not a work-slacker; I had the flexibility to go after working long hours earlier in the week).

Here’s some context as to why this was the best birthday to ever take place in the history of all human birthdays. As you might know, pizza is my favorite food (see the slice ranking system on What I’m Reading Wednesdays). You also might know that I love making pizza at home. Using a combination of recipes from Jeff Varasano, Peter Reinhardt, and lots of my own trial and error, I make an edible pizza. Unfortunately, as many pizza addicts know, the 550-degree heat produced by home ovens cannot come close to reproducing the magical pies that a 1000-degree wood-fired oven makes. It’s always been my dream to try making pizza in an oven like that – or better yet, to have one in my backyard!

Since we don’t have a 1000-degree oven, we often go out for pizza, and the place we go most often is Antico. Antico cannot be beaten for convenience, deliciousness, and the BYOB factor. Where else can you and your date arrive with your own bottle of wine (or a couple of beers), have a freshly-made pizza at your table in less than five minutes, stuff yourselves silly for $20 total, and have leftovers to spare? While we do love other pizzerias around Atlanta (Varasano’s in particular), for those reasons we find ourselves in Antico at least once a week.

Anyway, Xavier had told me in the morning that we were heading to Antico later. When he picked me up from work, he told me the surprise: he had arranged it so that I would be making our pizza! By the time we got to the restaurant, I could hardly breathe from excitement. But somehow, with the help of the awesome guys who work there, I managed to make a margherita pie with pepperoni. They even let me slide it into the oven from the peel, which I did with remarkable success, if I do say so myself. (It didn’t stick at all!). Xavier filmed everything, so there aren’t many photos, but here are some.

Me holding my pie, making weird face. Flour on my shirt? Comes with the territory.
Close up of the final product

I am so grateful to have an amazing boyfriend who is thoughtful enough to arrange such an amazing surprise for me! Seriously, what did I ever do to deserve him? Between him, my friends who came to dinner later, and the guys at Antico who made everything happen, there are some awesome people in my life. I’m a lucky girl.

Between stuffing myself with pizza and receiving not one but two birthday cakes (ice cream AND cookie – yeah, did I mention that I’m a lucky girl?), my fitness regimen fell to the wayside for a few days. But I have exciting news to report. After months of agonizing and weeks of seeking out options, we have finally joined a fitness facility. Best of all, it’s better than any gym we could have imagined – it’s the biggest rock-climbing gym in the country!

Stone Summit Climbing and Fitness Center
Our new gym has 30,000 square feet of indoor climbing surface. It also has a full workout facility, where the machines have individual TVs! Furthermore, they offer classes: spin, pilates, abs, etc. So now I have a place for cardio when the weather’s not conducive to a run or bike. All of that climbing will help to tone and maintain great physical shape; during our visit, I loved that the clientele was overwhelmingly thin and muscular. If we work out there with regularity, I can only assume that we’ll join their ranks soon! And the best part? The membership cost was considerably less than any other facility we looked into. Jackpot.
An added benefit of the new gym is that it’s going to help me overcome my crippling, overpowering fear of heights. When we went this weekend, just looking at the walls was terrifying and made me want to cry. But after a few attempts, I scaled my way to the top of some of the bouldering walls! Not the ones you see in the  previous photos, but the smaller ones in the bouldering room.
Bouldering room

The bouldering room doesn’t look intimidating, but it’s scary because climbers aren’t hooked up to any ropes. If you fall, you fall. Granted, the floor is soft and bouncy, but if you’re scared of heights, just being off the ground is enough to incite a stress reaction. On our second trip yesterday evening, I managed to overcome my fear enough to work up a real sweat tackling the climbs. There are some seriously challenging courses in that little room. My fear of heights still prevails, though – once I reach the top of the wall, all I can do is slap the taped-on target and then I shimmy down as fast as humanly possible. Today, I’m legitimately sore. It’s a good feeling.

So please pardon my absence from blogging, as this has been a pretty great week. I promise to make it a point to write more often!

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4 thoughts on “Quarter-century down

  1. J.K.

    Thanks for the comment! My birthday was amazing, and the rock wall is just chock-full of routes to conquer. Climbing is so much fun, I'd recommend it to anyone.

    Reply

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