Thursday, August 30, 2007

Minor Surgery

I had a cyst removed from my back this afternoon. It has been there for about 14 years. Raybon thinks it is kind of gross, but I've been too busy with my other appointments since he informed me of that to have it taken off. I didn't think much of it when I made the appointment, or even when I showed up this afternoon. But when I got there, and they started talking about big needles, scissors, and scalpels, I started to cringe. It wasn't so much the pain that I was scared of, as having to hear scissors go snip, snip, snip on my flesh, and feeling pulling and pressure as bits of me got ripped away. I wondered if I'd catch a glimpse of blood or something like that. I almost backed out. The anesthesia was the most painful part.

The thing that made this whole thing more scary and funny was that after he made the first incision, the power went out. The nurses franctically looked for a flashlight and someone to hold it for the doctor. This went on for I'm not sure how many minutes, but the backup generator finally kicked in, and the doctor completed the surgery. I asked him what the worst case scenario would be for a power outage in his office, and he said from the patient's perspective it would probably be a pap smear.

I'm OK, but I can't swim for 2 days. My new running coach told me to take it easy on the running this weekend because I'm in pain from overtraining, too, which leaves cycling, but I may just take this opportunity to just not exercise at all for a few days. Might be good for me.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Diet Blog

I started a new blog, chronicling my calorie consumption. If you're interested:

My Diet Blog

Crazy Full Life

My life has been bursting at the seams with activity lately. There's so much that's happened, I haven't had time to blog about it, although so much of it deserves reflection.

Things that have happened in the last two weeks I should blog about, but haven't:

1. My third Aquathlon
2. My first triathlon (I blogged a little about it.)
3. My first running team workout
4. My houseguests (Miho, Rose, and Elwood)
5. Two dogs visiting our house, both of whom marked their territory in our kitchen. Willow was amazingly understanding.
6. A relay swim across the Catalina Channel.
7. A great swim followed by tacos with 007 and C.P.

Best Wishes and Congratulations, Elwood and Rose


My baby brother Elwood got married on Monday this week to his fiance, now wife, Rose. They stayed with us for 4 days before the wedding, so I got to see first hand some of the nervousness and preparation, which climaxed on Saturday, resigned on Sunday, and turned into happiness, beauty, and hope on Monday. The wedding was beautiful. I love my brother dearly. I was scared for him. Marriage is a huge step and tremendous leap of faith, as I well know 8 years into my own marriage. But when I saw how happy he and Rose were, I felt more at ease, and when I heard how beautiful the vows they wrote were, I felt hopeful that they will have a life full of love together. I wish I had a copy of them to post here, but instead I'll post what they had me read during the ceremony:


The Irrational Season
by Madeleine L'Engle

There comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people
who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love
grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take

...it is indeed a fearful gamble...

Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something
which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.

To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take...

If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people
think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into
all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that
love which is not possession, but participation...

It takes a lifetime to learn another person...

When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that
co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it
is often rejected.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

2 x 16 Candles

Yesterday was my 32nd birthday. I celebrated it by doing my first triathlon. I got up at 4 a.m. in the morning and drove over to Shadow Cliffs Regional Park, where I met J. This was her second triathlon, and her first swim that included open water. I'm a little tired to blog about the details, but I didn't fall or die, and I had a lot of fun doing something new. J. got a few people to shout Happy Birthday to me as I finished, and even got me a card. My family is in town for my brother's wedding, and I was informed in advance that my birthday would not be celebrated amongst the all of the wedding hullabaloo. I whined to J. about it on Wednesday on our bike ride, so it was sweet of her to remember.

My godparents had a little party for me. We watched "The Outlaw Josie Wales" and ate spaghetti and had birthday cake. I love birthday cake. I love cards and presents and having people sing to me. I talked to a few people about how they feel about birthdays, and mostly people seem to think that birthdays aren't that big of a deal and that it isn't important to them to feel celebrated, but I like having one day a year where I feel important to people.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Behind on Blogging

Lots has happened that I haven't had a chance to blog about. I'm still working on an account of our Catalina swim. I have 3 pages so far, and haven't even gotten to the day of the swim yet, so per usual, I am a little overly wordy.

Because I am brimming over with gratitude, I felt like I need to mention sooner rather than later that Big L. gave me a bike lesson yesterday, accompanied by C.P. and J. I rode with them for over an hour and half, and it was a tremendous confidence booster. Big L. also adjusted my seat, which seems to make a world of difference. I felt much more stable and I am now a little bit less than terrified of my clipless pedals. Thank you! Thank you!

C.P. and Big L. encouraged me to do a sprint triathlon on Saturday, which I'm going to do with J. I'm pretty excited about it. It's called "Tri for Fun", and you don't get official results, which sounds perfect to me. My best swimming experiences were my first ones, when I just wanted to finish. Those and my Tahoe relay last year, where I tried my best without getting a time. I'm hoping I can capture some of that fun that I felt with this new sport.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Crash

I've been exhausted lately. I'm starting to feel somewhat better, but towards the end of the day, I am clutzy, and I am still unfocused at work.

I decided to drive down by myself on Friday, although I had the opportunity to carpool with C.P. and L on Saturday. It's about a 6 hour drive to my parents, and about 8 to where we were meeting in Long Beach for the relay. I wanted to have enough time to rest for the swim, and a long drive on Saturday didn't seem like a good way to be well rested for a swim that started at midnight. I've made the trip down to my parents many, many times over the last 14 years I've lived in Northern California, but this was only the second time I've done it by myself. I've always either gotten a ride with a friend, Raybon, or taken the bus or plane.

I left without directions, and got a little lost, but my Treo and Google Maps got me back on the right track. Because I got lost, I wanted very much to make up for lost time by not taking my time and stopping for lunch, and by speeding. I was very tired, so this was a mistake. I was so tired, I had trouble keeping the directions in my head as I drove, and often forgot what the next street I was supposed to turn on was. Instead of stopping for lunch, I went through a drive-thru at McDonald's and got a Happy Meal.

I got as for as Goleta, which is just north of Santa Barbara. I looked down to get a drink from my water bottle, and by the time I looked up, I saw that a big white van ahead of my had stopped. I slammed on my brakes, but it was too late. I swerved towards the left side of the freeway (I was in the fast lane), and hit the van with the front, right side of my car. I screamed. As I stopped my car, I started bawling like a baby. My guilty conscious came out in full force. Why did I drive when I knew I was tired? Why didn't I ride with C.P. and L.? Why didn't I wait until Raybon got back from his business trip later that evening, so he could come with me? Why do I do things out of feelings of obligation when I'm too tired to do them? Why do I have this stupid, guilty conscience?

The guy in the van was completely non-chalant. He said, "Sorry. Traffic just came to a stop." His car didn't have so much as a scratch, but mine looked pretty bad. I hit his bumper, but it was higher than mine, so it hit the hood of the Prius instead. An EMT that was driving by stopped and held my hand. He kept asking me questions and trying to comfort me. He asked if it was my parent's car, which made me think he thought I was much younger than I am. I was embarrassed to tell him I was almost 32. He chuckled at my Happy Meal. He really wasn't making me feel better. I felt like crying, like it was something I needed to do anyways that the accident just facilitated.

Anyway, I'm fine. I don't know what's going to happen with the car yet. There's more to the story that involves a fiasco with a dubiously ethical tow truck driver and Enterprise, but I'm not sure how much I want to go into it. I was shaken up and felt sort of taken advantage of, but it's all going to work out in the end. Lesson learned: call your insurance company if you have an accident, and ask them what you should do. Don't let anyone else make decisions for you.

I feel not much more than the normal aches and pains at the moment. Thanks for asking.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Brief Update

Friday 8/10/07 - Got in car accident. Raybon's Prius. I'm fine. The other driver is fine. Prius not so good.

Saturday 8/11/07 and Sunday 8/12/07- Swam in 6 person relay across the Catalina Channel. Fun people. 10 hours 3 minutes.

Tired now. Blog more later.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Am I Done?

I'm coming on 32 in 2 weeks. They say the person you are in your early 30's is who you will be for the rest of your life. Should I just settle into myself, or keep trying to work on my problems? I'm starting to think I may just be who I am. I may decide to tackle various challenges for the rest of my life, but maybe I'll be approaching them with the same tools and handicaps the rest of my life.

Things I'm afraid I'll be for the rest of my life:

1. Shy
2. Awkward
3. Passive
4. Narcissistic
5. Obsessive
6. Panicky
7. Bitchy

Part of me feels relieved at the idea that "I am done." I can be Ok with myself if I am any of the above things, because I'm done and there isn't anything I can do about it anyways. The other part of me thinks I should take constructive steps to work on all of the above. All of the things above that I do end up hurting other people (yes, even the shy part.)

I guess I can't consider myself done. But I think rather than getting mad at myself for being all of the above things, I should think hard about concrete steps on how to get past my problems.

What do I have in my favor? (Just to be nice and make up for all the mean things I said about myself in the list above.)

1. Generous in helping when asked.
2. Try hard to be considerate, despite my awkwardness and solipsism getting in the way sometimes.
3. Determined (the upside of obsessiveness, I guess.)
4. Honest.
5. Loyal.
6. Intelligent. (Sometimes I don't think I use the brain God gave me enough, though.)

Socializing and Swimming Day

At pretty much the last minute, I decided to do the Flop Cruise. M. and L. (better come up with aliases soon) asked me over and over again whether I was going to swim it many times over the past few weeks, and I always said no. Excuses: "I'm boycotting it, because they chose to do this instead of the Pier to Pier", "I don't feel like racing", "I've done it too many times." When I woke up this morning, I didn't want to go either. But I went. I can't explain it exactly. Why? I don't know. I think my thoughts were along the lines of "This is what I do, I'm an open water swimmer." Jean-Paul Sartre would have a word with me, I guess.

Raybon went with me, doing what he felt his husbandly duty, I guess. I asked him why he wanted to go, and he said "I've got nothing better to do", which I guess sounds a lot like my answer for why I went, too. I got there and immediately looked for M. and L. I got there kind of on the late side, so I was surprised they weren't there. I saw a lot of my old Flip Flop Masters teammates, which was surprisingly very nice and comforting. I think at Lake Berryessa and at the PMS SCY meet, I felt a little uncomfortable seeing everyone, because I was a defector, but everyone was so friendly and welcoming this time. It's nice to go somewhere where everyone seems to know and like you. MMakaTS is starting to feel like that, too.

Ahenobarbus was there. He told me that he read my blog, which was surprising and flattering.

M. and L. did show up. I had half-joked with M. about racing today in the locker room on Friday. We swim in the same lane, and have been faster or slower than one another depending on the day or part of the workout, so I thought it would be fun to race someone the same speed as me. It was fun, but hard. M. is one tough cookie. She's a masterful open water swimmer, and while I kept up with her for half the race, she took the turns around the buoys a lot more smoothly than I do, and once that happened, I never caught up, and she managed to gain even more ground. I could give a lot of sore-losery excuses about why she beat me, but she did fair and square.

After the swim and awards, (I got first place out of one people in my age group), Raybon and I did some errands, and I then showered and headed to a MM party. I got there 2 hours late, and the party had pretty much wound down at that point. I felt like a big dork. I followed my usual M.O. of talking to another new person for a really long time. I stayed for 45 minutes, mostly to make it sort of feel worth it. I hate parties. Honestly. They feel more like an obligation than anything else. I want to bond with my teammates at MM though, so I thought it might be worth the drive and potential awkwardness. I thought about asking Coach before the party if he could give me a job to do so I wouldn't feel like I had to talk to anyone. I made it through quite a few F.F. social events stressfully, but unscathed, so I guess I'll live through this, too. In the long run, it might be worth it.

Congratulations, 007

15 miles in 7:38. Awesome swim!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Go, 007, Go, Go!

007 is swimming across Long Island Sound 11 hours from now.Go 007! You're going to kick so much ass!

Space Cadet

I'm bad at taking hints, especially when I'm tired. I swam in a lane with a woman I rarely swim with, and 2 other people. I took the rear, because it was breaststroke day. She wondered to me if the person in front of her was concerned that she was following too closely, and told me she hates it when people do that to her. I explained to her that she shouldn't follow too closely, and to leave 10 back if she catches up to them, and if she still catches up to them, to ask to go ahead. I now realize that she may have been indirectly complaining to me about following too close. Being a poor breaststroker, I was focused more on my technique than on not following too close, and I don't have the confidence to leave 10 back. PBBBT.... The nerve of me to feel like I should be explaining lane etiquette to her, when I now realize that i was the one she may have been talking about. How embarrassing.

Note to Self

Always take your vitamins. This is important. I felt like crap for a week and a half after Tahoe, and now feel like a new woman after taking a multivitamin and fish oil for 3 days.

Sorry for using this blog for stuff of no interest to anyone but me. Actually, you know what, no apologies.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Happy Anniversary

Tomorrow is the anniversary of when I first tried out M.M. I took me over a month to actually decide to join, so maybe September 8th should be the real anniversary. Maybe I'll celebrate until then.