Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekend Recap

This weekend, I once again headed up to New Hampshire with our adaptive ski program, compliments of New England Disabled Sports (NEDS).

I was feeling a bit scattered and flaky on Friday, and it took me about 6 tries to actually get on the road. First, I forgot my Ugg boots (say what you will, they are super cozy and warm. I love them). When I came back to get them, I left my wallet. I came back for the wallet and somehow turned on the outside light. I went back and shut out the light and finally made it out. I stopped, gassed up, and hit the road. When I stopped at a rest area, I noticed that I left my gas cap at the gas station when gassing up. So I bought another at the rest area. When I arrived at the hotel, I realized I had forgotten both my ski boots and my helmet. I'm just glad my head is permanently attached to my body. Otherwise I probably would have left that behind, as well.

This weekend, I got to assist and try out three track skiing. Three track skiing is the style used by amputees. It consists of skiing on one ski with two outriggers (specialized poles with a forearm cuff and mini skis on the ends).  When skiing on two skis, you point yourself down the hill and make turns essentially by shifting your weight from one leg to the other leg. In three track, your turns are initiated by bending and straightening your one knee while shifting from the outside to the inside edge of the ski and using the outriggers for balance. It's hard! And what's more, is that you can't get by with sloppy technique, which is what I generally do on two skis. You really need to keep your weight forward over the ski tip and keep your shoulders pointed down the hill.

I don't know how those guys do it! (I cheated by putting my other leg down when we stopped to let my skiing leg rest. The disabled skiiers didn't have that option!) Plus, with 9 inches of fresh powder on Saturday (sah-weet!) the quads had and even bigger workout!

Once again, I am in awe of the amazing athletes I've been spending the weekends with.

On my last run down, I learned a lesson of a different sort. The official lessons end at 3:00, but the lift tickets are good until 4:00. So a couple of us decided to get another run or two in. I had to return the helmet I had borrowed from NEDS for the day, but figured I'd be fine. (I skied for years without ever THINKING of using a helmet!) Plus, we'd be doing a nice, easy leisurely green circle all the way down.

Unfortuneately, on the last, helmetless run down, one of our beginner skiiers went a little out of control and collided with me. His helmeted head smashed into the back of my helmetless head -- hard -- before I fell sideways and hit my head on the snow -- hard -- and then ricocheted back into his helmet. Hard.

My head really hurts this week.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday's Bad Dates - Steve

Happy Mardi Gras, everyone! Of course, we don't really celebrate Mardi Gras in the northeast, but I'm remembering fondly my years down south and the one year I go to see my friend Adam was in the Zulu parade. Ah, good times!

Of course, since Mardi Gras is a Tuesday, it'll have to share some of the good times with some bad times. In the form of Tuesday's Bad Dates.

In order to explain this bad date, I'll have to share a bit of background information about how I met...Steve.

A couple years ago, I went to a Halloween party at a bar with some friends. My friend, Karen looked spectacular in an elaborate Medussa costume with a toga and snakes in her hair. I was dressed as Princess Leah. (A choice I now know was a big mistake. Any guy around the same age as Kevin Smith harbors similar dorky Princess Leah fantasies and is not afraid to make them known. My hair did look grand, though. Totally my own hair in the side buns with the help of a little device called a "hairigami". Two, actually)

Anyway, along with me and Karen was G-Man, who worked as a landscaper and was dressed up as a landscaper, Brian, who worked as a mechanic and came dressed up as a mechanic, and Sam, who worked in the deli at the grocery store and came dressed as a mad scientist (his deli jacket and safety goggles with a glow stick in his pocket). Do you see a pattern here? Seriously. Why can't guys put in the slightest effort?

So we were all having a good time, dancing on the dance floor, dodging the rubber snakes that were falling out of Karen's hair and drinking pumpkin ale. G-Man had a caribeener around his belt and kept clipping it onto my Princess Leah belt when I wasn't looking. Which meant that whenever I wanted to go to the bathroom or get another beer or get away from a falling snake, I'd end up clotheslining myself and smacking right back into his chest. Sort of funny, yet sort of annoying at the same time. I kept unclipping myself and stepping AWAY from the landscaper yet suddenly, I was clotheslining myself again.

At this point, somebody walked across the dance floor (dressed in a pair of scrubs with a stethescope around his neck) and attempted to come to my aid....asking me if G-Man was bothering me. And that's how I met Steve.

Friday, February 17, 2012


Today, I didn't set the alarm. I figured I'd let myself sleep in. Usually, when I let myself sleep in, I wake up around 8:00 am, well rested, and get on with the day.

Today, I woke up at 11:00 am. I got up, did some cleaning, ate some breakfast, and then went back to bed for the rest of the day.

It was wonderful!

Sleep rocks.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Thoughts of Vacation

Today is halfway through February. I decided to start my official countdown to my vacation.

In March, I am going to Vietnam

and Cambodia

I have never been to this part of the world before, I'm excited and nervous all at the same time.

It's gonna ROCK!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday's Bad Dates -- Valentine's Day

In honor of Valentine's Day, I'm going to change Tuesday's Bad Dates around a little bit, and tell you about a good date I once had. (As hard as it is to believe, I actually have had a couple good dates in my life)

Back when I was living in California, I started dating this guy, M. We had been dating a few weeks when he bought a new truck. He was very excited about his new truck and suggested that we try it out by going up to King's Canyon National Park for the weekend.

We took the long drive out that weekend. We had a couple great hikes and saw some nice scenery and ate some good food. On Sunday, before heading home, we decided to drive down a dirt road to Muir Grove and see some sequoia trees. The road was pretty rutted out and treacherous and it hadn't been plowed. Which was absolutely perfect! (We were trying out his new truck, after all)

Well, on the way back from the grove, we came to a spot in the road where the snow got a little deep and the grade was a little steep. The truck got stuck for a bit, so M put it in reverse, dropped it into 4WD, and started driving forward again...really fast. He was almost flooring it. He'd drive forward until the truck stopped -- smack -- against the snow, put it in reverse, and then drive forward again at break-neck speed until we --smacked -- up against the snow. Over and over.

This entire time, I was yelling at him: "WHAT are you doing? That isn't how you drive in snow! You're going to get the truck stuck!" Which, of course, we did; we finally reached a point where we -- smacked -- against the snow and the tires just spun. M tried to go in reverse and the tires just spun some more. He kept spinning and spinning until the truck slid sideways into a huge rut on the side of the road and then we were completely and totally stuck.

M was devastated. He looked like he just wanted to disappear into a hole in the ground. To top it all off, we were out of cell phone range so we had to walk up the road about 2 miles to call a tow truck to pull us out.

On the drive home, M was absolutely silent. No matter how I tried to engage him in conversation, he wouldn't talk. When we stopped to get some food, he said, "Well, I guess we won't be going out again."

I asked him what he was talking about.

"Well, I tried to take you out for a nice weekend away and I ended up getting the truck stuck and exposing you to a toe truck guys who looked like a convicted felon."

"Listen, M", I said, "That's not the first time I've ever gotten a truck stuck and I'm sure it won't be the last. Let's take a detour down a dirt road and I'll teach you how to drive in the snow."

We dated for 6 years.

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

This week is Random Acts of Kindness Week.

 A nice idea any week, really, but also nice to have an official week dedicated to being kind.

There are lots of great ideas on the website to make this week a little kinder. (I'm planning on an kindness ambush for my co-workers) But not tomorrow. I think we may get ambushed with candy tomorrow.

Which ain't half bad, either

Saturday, February 11, 2012

____________ is good.

Life is good.  It was definitely one of those days where life is very good.

Today, I spent the day on a mountain with these guys. Doing this:

Except that in the picture, it sort of looks like the instructor in the red is actually helping out a bit, whereas in my case, I was merely trying to keep up. Seriously! The people I was with today were super-crazy, fearless, and skilled lunatics on monoskis. I'm just me. (I did fix a bucket, though, so I was not completely useless) It was a great day on great snow with great people. It was time well spent.

I've been trying to focus my energy, lately, on things that matter. Things that will be time well spent. It seems like I just never have enough time to do all the things I want to do. Then, while I was at the gym, simultaneously doing intervals on the bike and reading a magazine, I came across an article that promised to help me "find an extra hour a day." An extra hour? I could certainly use that! But as I was reading this article (during my intervals) it became abundantly clear that this article was written for people who actually have lots of down time, just don't spend that time wisely.

Otherwise, why would hints like "Only check Facebook 1 or 2 times per day" find their way into the article? A day? A DAY??? Who has the time to log onto Facebook multiple times per day? I'm thinking....only check Facebook one or two times per week is more like it!

Then I thought...yeah. That's what I need to be doing. Cutting things completely out of my day that don't have a high return. That aren't really "things I want to do." That aren't time well spent.

So I cut out the TV and computer completely on weekdays. Then, I would have time for reading, and exercise, and getting my food-and-water-and-vitamins all organized for the next day, and journaling, and spending some time each day (even if its only 5 minutes) sitting in silence.

It's been good.  I feel more focused and centered and happy. I haven't missed TV at all. Facebook, I haven't missed either. Blogging, on the other hand, I missed.

Blogging has become, for me, a source of daily inspiration and direction.  From people like him (Who has even more on his plate than me, yet somehow was able to complete an Ironman. Yowza!) and her  (Who is not content just to reach each and every one of her goals, but shares tips and encouragement and daily challenges others to reach their goals, too. Seriously, she's like an online life coach!). From this southern gal.who takes risks every day in the one area of my life that I feel not only NOT COURAGEOUS, but possibly stifled. (Her blog name says it all) Or this guy   for  ignoring his fears and starting something that he is unsure about. I realized, this week, that blogging is actually time well spent.

Today, when I was driving home from New Hampshire, I couldn't wait to get home and do my daily sitting in silence. I also couldn't wait to log on and do some blogging.

Life is good. And so is blogging.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cleaning Gal

Here is one of life's great truths: when your apartment AND your car both start to smell like the inside of a gym bag, it's time to cancel your plans to stay home and clean.

Here's another of life's great truths: when there is something fun to do, I NEVER cancel plans.

So today, I spent the better part of 9 hours engaged in some sort of washing, wiping, spraying, organizing, throwing away, vacuuming, plunging (unfortunately) and filing. While I consider myself a fairly clean person, I am always astounded by what an absolute PIG I am!

Like, how did I get black fingerprints all over every light switch and door? How do I manage to get crumbs in rooms I don't eat in? Why do I manage to spill just a little bit of protein shake in the car each and every day? Exactly how many pounds of hair do I shed onto the carpet and bathtub every week?

I thought if I put on a little music and just got down to business, I could have this whole clean up thing done in a matter of two hours. How wrong I was!

I wonder, am I just exceptionally good at making messes, or is everyone as disgusting as me?

Now, as I sit in my clean, well organized, un-smelly apartment, I should feel relaxed and at peace.

Instead, I'm wonder I'm still single!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pinch Punch, the first of the month

Suddenly, February is here. And as always, on the first day of the month, I go back to setting goals and reviewing last month's failures goals.

January was a bit of a rough month. It seems I've been saying that a little too often:  how this month was hard, or this month was rough, or next month will be better, really. But January really was rough.

Which, it turns out, was a good thing.

A couple months ago, I was doing the obligatory goal review, and I commented on a passage I had read in a book. It essentially went like this: "Are your goals vehicles to a better you, or are they merely something to keep you busy so that you can avoid the real issues you should be focusing on?" That really stuck with me. And in January, it hit home.

As I was plowing along through the month, trying to food journal, trying to run outside every day, trying to exercise every day, trying to drink more water and eat better, I found myself failing at every endeavor.  All for the same reason;  as my 12 hour work days morphed into 13 hours, into 14 hours, into 14 hours with me coming in on the weekends trying to catch up yet somehow falling further and further behind every day, I also found myself saying "I need to change things."  "This is not how I want my life to be."   "I should leave."  "I should find a new job."  "I should start traveling again."  "That would solve all of my problems."

The problem with that logic is that this isn't the first job that this has happened. This is actually, just the latest in a long series of jobs that I found myself working longer and harder and more and more while becoming less and less happy. Until I left and  found a new job. Where the process would start all over again. And then I'd leave and go somewhere else. And the process would start all over once again.

The problem wasn't my job. The problem was me.

So this month, instead of chalking up my unmet goals to my long work hours, I stopped focusing on the goals and started focusing on me.

Why the heck to I turn into an workaholic? Why do I caffeinate myself and scarf down junk food to make it through the ridiculously long days? Why do I come in on my days off and then resent everyone else who went away to Vermont or New York or Maine for the weekend? Why the heck is my life like this?

No matter how I've tried to change this pattern in the past, I've been unsuccessful. So this January, I did something kind of radical.

I asked for help. (Which is HUGE for a control freak like myself)

I found a little community ed class in assertiveness. I signed up for a session with a nutritionist. I'm taking advantage of a free fitness assessment at the gym. And I finally sat down and talked to my supervisor at work about the workload.

Not meeting my goals has never been so productive.

And while I'm sure I'll be writing some goals for February, it won't be today.

For now, I'll just be appreciative of the chance to make a REAL change and see what happens from here.