Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

This Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial beginning of summer, turned out to be picture perfect weather wise. Great for running, biking, going to the beach. Lots of friends I haven’t seen in months stopped by to say hello and I had my first complete under water dunk in the ocean. And at the end of the weekend, I felt….old.

It’s become abundantly clear that I have reached an age where sometimes we don’t bounce back the way we did in our 20’s. Back then, if we went about things in a half-assed kind of way, the repercussions were pretty minimal. Now, not so much. One friend, age 39, had a STROKE several weeks ago (don’t worry -- he recovered fully). Another friend who has had a chronic medical condition her whole life was recently hospitalized for 3 weeks. And an unfortunate third succumbed to too many years of depression.

The thing that really gets to me is the fact that these friends appeared to have ignored (and continue to ignore) some pretty clear wake up calls. I mean, if you wake up and cannot feel the entire left side of your face, neck, and shoulder, then perhaps you should get medical attention BEFORE you actually collapse at work! And at least CONSIDER giving up drinking and smoking afterward. Just sayin’. Or maybe if you had a long hospitalization the summer you were 18, you should think twice before doing the exact same thing 20 years later! (You never get the summer you were 18 back! Once its gone, its gone!) Not to mention that 18 falls squarely within the half-assed permissible age bracket. Thirty eight does not.

And just to spice things up a bit, we can sprinkle in some smoke from wild fires burning in Canada (my entire apartment smells like a campfire) and the thought of oil blasting out of pipes deep below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. We may be past the point where we can bounce back from environmental disasters. (Especially when at least one was caused by going about things in a half-assed kind of way)

But then I thought about me and my goals and how, well, maybe I’VE been going about things in a bit of a half assed way. I haven’t really fully committed to many of the goals I’ve set for myself and as a result haven’t met quite a few. I’ve let an injury not just side track, but pretty much derail my training goals for this year. And truthfully, even though I’m not smoking, drinking, and eating red meat every day like SOME people, I really haven’t been doing everything I could be doing for my health. I’m 40 now. Maybe that’s not as big an option as I thought.

Plus, you never get the summer you are 40 back again, ever! Do I want to look back and see a half-assed person starting a slide into being OLD? Or do I want 40 to look like Jennifer Aniston 40, Sheryl Crow 40, Courtney Cox in Cougartown 40? And even more importantly, what do I want that 40 year old’s life to stand for?

I think there’s really only one answer to that question.

And now I’m going to get my butt to bed early so I can prepare my recently purchased organic food for breakfast and go give my all at work next week

Thursday, May 27, 2010

strange dreams

I've been having strange, vivid dreams lately. Disturbing dreams. Dreams about things I would never do in real life. Dreams that make me really really happy when I wake up to learn that it was just a dream.

The other night, I dreamed that I was going kayaking with some friends from work. We unloaded the kayaks and parked the cars and we noticed that this guy down by the shore hadn't moved the entire time we were preparing for our trip. He was sitting in his own kayak, kind of slumped down like he was basking in the early morning sun. He had big giant sunglasses and a floppy bucket hat on. We decided to go down and talk to him just to make sure he was ok.

He was not ok. He was dead. We came upon a dead guy in a kayak early Saturday morning on our way to a nice work related kayaking trip. How much does that suck?

Anyway, here's where it gets weird. Instead of -- oh, I don't know, calling the police? Or grabbing our kayaks and getting the heck out of there. Or... throwing up on the beach? --- we decided to dispose of the body.

Why would we do this? Why would I run back to my jeep to get the blanket that I keep in the back seat that has THE NAME OF THE PLACE I WORK ON IT to roll up some strangers dead body? Why would we debate the pros and cons of burying versus sinking in the pond? Why would we weight the body down and paddle out in the middle of the pond and drop it in? Why? Why?

I sure as hell did all of this without batting an eye in my dream. Like it was a perfectly normal way to spend a Saturday morning with my co-workers.

And then --- THEN --- we found what we figured was the dead guy's car. And I left some kind of incriminating evidence that pointed to a girl I went to junior high school with. (I don't remember what it was exactly. It may have been a note with her name signed to it.) I was friends with this girl in junior high. I mean, we pretty much lost contact after junior high so we couldn't have been that great of friends, but we were in all the same classes together and got along well in our pre-pubescent years. So why would I do this to her?

I sure as well did that without thinking twice in my dream. Like there was nothing wrong with implicating a completely innocent person for murder.

Well, she went to jail in my dream. And I briefly debated going to the police to let them know that I left the note as a joke. But then I decided that I'd rather go on another kayaking excursion.

The end.

Maybe I have an evil twin personality who takes over after the sun goes down.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Possible Sources on New Income

Here's an interesting fact about me:

I have come in second place in two seperate "worst legs" contests and in second place in one "best legs" contest (that I entered as a joke on my way back from hiking in the desert. With cactus and yuka spines lodged in my thigh and starting to get infected).

I'm thinking it's just about time to start looking for one of those "worst legs" contests, again. I could win some play money for the summer!

(for my runner-geek friends: check out that over-pronation on the left!)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

biking lesson

In March, prior to what I now refer to as "the bulging disc debacle of 2010", I purchased a set of clipless pedals for my bike so that I could be wicked fast (ie: not the slowest person) in triathlons. I verbalized to the sales clerk my fear of falling because of an inability to disengage my feet from the pedals.

"Oh, don't worry about that," he said "It WILL happen. Everybody falls three times when they get clipless pedals." (Something I now refer to as "The Clipless Pedal Theorem.")

I thanked the nice sales clerk for his vote of confidence and left with my purchase. As I drove home, I decided that I was going to prove him wrong. I am smarter than the average bear, after all. Plus, I have great kinesthetic awareness. (I competed in gymnastics until I was 18!) On top of that, I teach people how to walk after they have strokes. I am very well versed in how to re-train faulty motor patterns and how to develop new ones. I even watch sporting event not for entertainment, but for educational purposes. I rock!

I did not even attempt to ride my bike with the new pedals until I successfully clipped in and out with each foot over 100 times. Then I only rode on the grass. Even now, whenever I go for a ride, I periodically practice clipping in and out in a variety of situations: uphill, downhill, while speeding up, while slowing down, while going around a corner, while being chased by a dog. I have practiced my clipping an unclipping motor pattern in pretty much every situation there is.

Except for the situation I encountered on Saturday.

On Saturday I was going for a nice long ride down to Scusset beach and back. Since the weather is so nice and Memorial Day is fast approaching, there was a lot of traffic on the road. So much traffic that unexpected turns or deviations are pretty much out of the question while on a bike.

I was coming up to a red light right in line with a whole line of traffic: cars, trucks, more cars, and a whole bunch of cute guys on motorcycles. Ok, maybe that's exaggerating a bit. There were like 15 motorcycles and like 4 cute guys in the bunch. And by cute, I mean "had nice triceps." (they were all wearing helmets with face shields)

Not the artificially overworked triceps that you see in abundance at the gym, either. I'm talking lean, taught, functional triceps. Like you get from lifting things like boxes. Or lobster traps. Or kayaks onto roof-racks of cars. Or maybe from training for a triathlon or two.

Anyway, right about then, it was important to look as cool as possible. You know, when there's the chance that one of the triceps guys could see me at the season opener in Hyannis in two weeks? Maybe I should wear my same "sweat happens" shirt just so he would have an easier time remembering the short girl with the ponytail on the Le Monde.

There's pretty much no chance anyone at that stop light will have a hard time remembering me.

As I coasted in, braking and frantically twist, twist, twisting my heel, I remembered another thing that helpful sales clerk told me: "You'll never fall when you're alone. You only fall in front a bunch of people" (Corollary #1 to the clipless pedal theorem)

Luckily, I was able to aim myself at a patch of grass.

Which brings me to Corollary #2: "Other cyclist will be sympathetic. Everyone else? Will point and laugh. Hard. And loudly."

I can conclude with a high degree of certainty that the tricep guys either liked to go clamming or worked for UPS.

Friday, May 21, 2010

fortunes and lies

Geekhiker posted a funny blurb about a strange fortune he got with his Chinese food. It reminded me of a fortune I got a few weeks ago.

The fortune read: "One who loves you will follow you wherever you go."

And I thought: "W/T/F??? This is supposed to be a fortune cookie, not a lie cookie!"

Stupid Chinese food.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

From Me to We

Several weeks ago, I read the book From Me to We by Craig and Marc Kielburger. This is yet another find from the bargain section of the book store. As usual, when I find a gem in the bargain section, I have mixed feelings. I'm happy because I found the book, and I probably would not have even found the book had it not been in the bargain section to begin with. But I feel sad for the authors that their book ended up in the bargain section. If they have to sell a certain number of books to keep a book contract, do sales from the bargain section count? I almost feel like I should go back and buy one at full price to support these guys. almost.

Anyway, this book is written by two Canadian brothers. Craig, the younger brother, founded a non-profit organization called Free the Children which strives to end the horrors of child labor in third world countries through education, health services, clean water and food, and loan programs. Here's the amazing thing: he started this organization when he was 12 years old after reading a newpaper article about a boy his age who was murdered for his own work to end child labor. Craig has been nominated for the nobel peace prize three times; the first time when he was only 13.

Marc, Craig's brother, also works for Free the Children and co-founded an organization called Leaders Today, which teaches leadership skills to young adults throughout North America.

The book is divided into chapters that include lessons from the "Me to We" philosophy, as well as personal stories from inspirational people including the authors, Jane Goodall, Desmond Tutu, and Kim Phuc (the girl on the cover of Life magazine running from her village that had just been hit by napalm in Vietnam). The book includes questions to get you thinking of your own life and potential for change, ideas and activities for personal goals, and discussions of social issues that are of importance.

Though at times the book gets a bit text-booky, it is overall an inspiring and uplifting read. The tone is very down to earth and practical. Marc and Craig really make you feel that they are just a couple of regular, everyday guys who have done things that anyone could have done, had they only embraced this "me to we" philosophy.

Though I haven't built a new school or started a non profit in the weeks since I read this book, I feel like I could. almost.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

simple things

What's making me smile right now?

My jar of "wish rocks" that I pick up from the beach each time I go. A wish rock is a rock with a stripe that goes completely around it. You pick it up and make a wish. I'm not saying that the wishes will automatically come true. (Some of my wishes absolutely did not) But for a brief moment, you feel hopeful that it will.

And if you have an entire jar of them in your house, you can feel hopeful whenever you want!

What do you wish on and what makes you hopeful?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

One of the things about working in health care is that you come across people in very difficult life situations. Sometimes people have a lot on their plate. Too much. And sometimes what's on the plate isn't filet mignon, but a big steaming pile of dog poo.

Sometimes when I leave at the end of the day, I feel weighed down from the thought "There but for the grace of God go I." Instead of sitting at the computer writing about my pollen woes, I could be spending the night in my car with the doors locked, praying that my significant other passes out before he comes out looking for me. Or I could be faced with the harsh decision: let the mortgage go unpaid one more month and risk foreclosure or let my kids go hungry. Or I could be so mired in hatred for somebody who wronged me that every aspect of my life--EVERY ASPECT--is tinged with those bad feelings so that I could not see anything good.

It makes me realize how sometimes people really just need a helping hand or a boost.

It also makes me grateful for exercise. I'd go crazy without it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The pollen question

This year, we are enjoying the best New England spring in...well, possibly in the history of mankind. Usually rainy, cloudy and raw, spring this year has been what the rest of mankind thinks of when they hear "spring": sunny, temperate, comfortable and full of flowers. The one drawback to this weather utopia has been the abundance of pollen. The weatherman listed no fewer than 8 species of trees that were spewing forth pollen now. (not species...phylum? class? order? clique? Who is fluent in seventh grade biology and can help me out, here?) (Oh, and I'm sure "spewing" isn't the correct term, either.) But I digress...

The real purpose of this post isn't to prove how I eschew all other sciences in favor of anatomy and's to talk about the pollen. And how it's covering everything in my apartment in a thick yellow dusty film.

Naturally, I decided to spend a little more time than usual in my dusting routine. Imagine my surprise when I learned that in spite of our beautiful spring, pollen has been surpassed as my dusting nemesis by...HAIR!

How can I possibly lose that much hair each and every week and not end up bald a cue ball? Is it even mine? Because frankly, the magical love loft looks like Chewbacca has been breaking in with a few of his friends and staging some kind of wookie dance off while I'm at work every day!

I may have to invest in some motion activated surveillance equipment.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I've been kind of flaky about posting this month. I've also been a bit more or less flaky on my goals, as well. It seems like a really whiny excuse that my little back injury and subsequent inability to train left me well, whiny and disillusioned with goals. So I plugged away as best I could and tried not to be whiny on the blog.

Finally embracing the idea of a season of sprints instead of a half ironman, I found something unexpected but welcome occurring: all kinds of opportunities I would not have considered, had I been on target with my goals presented themselves.

A friend who just got scuba certified asked if I wanted to attend a Cape Cod Scuba Club meeting with her and I met a bunch of cool people and left with a dive calender. (I went to my parents and pulled out my scuba stuff which hasn't been used in a LONG time.)

A co-worker asked if I wanted to join her with some friends at a pub after work one night and I agreed. I ended up re-connecting with somebody I hadn't seen in over ten years and now have a few potential hiking buddies.

And this weekend, I learned that the Adaptive Paddling Expert (or APE as they fondly call themselves) associated with our adaptive sports club would not be able to man the sessions this summer. So I was offered a free certification! The certification class takes place on the weekend I originally had planned doing the half ironman. Had my plans gone well, I couldn't have taken advantage of this cool opportunity.

And while I'm not ready to throw out my lists completely, I am feeling a little more open to just letting things unfold as they want to this summer. Who the hell knows where I'll end up?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

a good day

This weekend, I had a lot of family time, as it was my niece's first communion. We all met at my brother's house, my other brother drove down with his two little ones (they are always sooo excited to see their cousins. It's totally cute) and piled into as few cars as possible to reduce the number of parking spaces we took up.

Four years ago, I flew home for my other niece's communion. I had mistakenly thought I could sleep on a red-eye (I can't) and spent the entire ceremony and following-meal-at-a-nice-family-restaurant in a state of near hallucinatory craziness. I was nauseous, disoriented, and unable to tolerate the too-bright sunshine on that particular day. But I was able to notice how adorably cute all the kids were (my niece was the absolute cutest of them all, of course) and how excited she was that I flew in from California to surprise her.

This time around, I was in much better shape since I had to travel only 20 minutes by car and was running off a delightfully kick-ass night's sleep. Plus, I had a good cardio workout and back stabilization exercises under my belt. It was pouring non-stop, so no glare to contend with. And while everyone was still cute as all get out, this time around, I was giving my niece the goofiest of them all award. (what a clown she is!)

The 11 year old did not miss the fact that more than half the 7 and 8 year olds getting their first communion were, in fact, bigger than she was. "It's NOT FAIR!" she wailed in perfect melodramatic perfection. Before climbing all over me and demanding a piggy back ride. I wanted to turn to her and yell "GET OFF! IT'S NOT FAIR!" I was actually smaller than her when I was her age, after all.

Same restaurant, more kids this time. Eight kids in all, tipping over chairs and crawling under the table. Miraculously, they did not dare touch the cake after the various death threats that were thrown their way.

And then it was back to the house for present time. Interestingly enough, I was thinking of my own first communion, when I received my very first ever WATCH!! It was a Cinderella watch with baby-blue strap and a picture of the princess on the watch face. (Her arms twirled around her body pointing out the correct time).

I can only imagine what my niece's reaction would be if I gave her a Cinderella watch. First of all, she's had --oh, about 8 watches so far. All digital. Most with a computerized voice that could TELL you the time out loud. Watches have become almost disposable now. Not to mention princesses. Sure, she went through her princess phase when she was aged 3 thru 5. But if I gave her any item with a princess on it at the age of eight, well, let's just say that my status as "The coolest aunt in the world" would be in serious jeopardy.

As it was, I decided to forgo the traditional, conservative route (savings bond) and embraced the fun route. (Just Dance game for the Wii). We spent the entire rainy afternoon dancing like lunatics in the den. All the cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, and grandparents alike.

All in all, a good day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

weekly wrap up

Hi everyone!

I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. I've just been preoccupied with those ever present goals I keep running around in my head (and on my blog). I've really been trying to pay more attention to what I eat and drink. And though I cannot say I've been 100% successful in clean eating, I can say that I've been doing lightyears better than I was before. Between the increased attention and the food journaling I've been doing, I've wanted to pinpoint when it is when I start to break down and eat junk and drink caffeine.

The bottom line is: I start consuming all the bad stuff because I'm TIRED! (not necessarily hungry) And since my long work days aren't going to change anytime soon, and my workouts are non-negotiable, I've looked at other areas in my life to tweak. Which means making sure I get to bed a little earlier. Which in turn means less computer time.

The good news is, I'm feeling a lot better than I have in weeks. Or months, even. Bed earlier, less junk, more water, more veggies. It's not rocket science. It's just common sense. (Its surprising how un-common common sense is, huh?)

Anyway, the good news is, I'm down 2 and a half pounds in one week. So that's promising. The daily journaling is going well. And I'm up to 5 single leg squats on the injured leg. (Oh, that knee is still so unstable! I want to just go out and run for hours in this nice weather but that would not be smart at all.)

I got lots more to tell you, but it's already past my self-imposed bed time. So have nice dreams, everyone, and I'll catch you later.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May Goals

Where did April go? It seemed to fly by, and now here it is May. (and a much more temperate and lovely May than last year, I might add. I went to the beach today. The sun was hot. The air was warm. The water was freezing.)

Anyhow, with me having a difficult time remembering what the heck I did, exactly, in April, it's no wonder that my goals were kind of...kicked by the wayside, you could say? Anyway....


1) Rehab my back. This really was the most important goal in April, wasn't it. And happily, I was successful. I can sleep. I can sit long enough to compose an email or blog post without undue agony. I can sit on a toilet. (TMI??) And as of this week, I can ride a bike and run without feeling like a steamroller ran me over the next day. My right leg, however, is atrophied almost beyond recognition and is a full 1/2 inch smaller in diameter than my left. So my goal for May? Rehab the leg. *sigh*

2) Six to Eight servings of veggies a day. despite the juicing frenzy, this was a fail. I have to admit, with the limited running and biking, I got a little down and started eating a lot of junk. (I was completely un-beach-ready today. Pasty and doughy is not a pretty sight. Fortunately for me, I was not the pastiest nor the doughiest on the beach.) But I still gotta get my sh*t together.

3) Trunk Stabilization exercises every day this month. success! (See #1 above)

4) Six to Eight glasses of water a day Fail. (see #2 above)

5) Back to journaling. Gratitude and events half credit.

6) Get roth IRA all set up. success

7) Increase 403 B contributions. success

8) go out twice this month success. See #2 above. And now think: pasty, doughy, and hung over.

9) Spring Cleaning done: not yet.

10) DVD classes done: no.

So now, as May falls on me and June -- real beach season-- fast approaches. I'm going to recycle some of April's fails and try to move forward, as well.


1) Rehab the leg! I want to be able to do 25 single leg squats without pain on the right leg before I even think about racing. My knee is still pretty unstable. I can do 3 now. I could do none on Monday, so that's promising.

2) I'm going with an "eat clean" diet plan this month. I want to lose 4 pounds of pasty dough.

3) Spring cleaning and summer clothes switch.

4) DVD classes done.

5) Journaling every day this month.

6) Working on increasing referrals to my clinic by 2 per month

7) Get back to letter writing (I'm old fashioned that way. Plus, I love getting stuff in the mail. ) goal is for 4 in May.

8) Go on 2 group training bike rides this month

9) Dust off that guitar and start strumming again.