Sunday, April 30, 2006

Soggy Bottom Ride...

right before christmas I decided that in order to stay motivated to go to the gym I needed something to work towards. I decided upon the Minnesota Ironman Bike ride to be held the last Sunday in April. I had a 30-60-and 100 mile option to choose from. i originally thought, "what the hell" and shot for the 100.

I realized very quickly the number of hours it takes to ride 100 miles on a bike and decided that wasn't for me. My attention span is bad enough without purposefully deciding to try to bike that far. So I thought, "Okay fine, I'll do the 60 miles". That was before I got so stinkin' ill as was documented here on this site. Two weeks of little to no lung capacity, no voice, and absolutely no gym time nearly ruled ou the idea of doing 60 miles.

Except that one little line on the registration form..."this year's 30 mile route is a bit hillier than the past". Uhm. I don't like hills. not that south eastern minnesota has that many but i much prefer to go over them at 75 mph in my car than under my own man power. So I was thinking of starting the 60 mile route and riding until I got to a half way point and then riding on a van back to avoid the hills.

My alarm went off bright and early at 5:30 this morning. I was on the road to Lakeville by 6:40 ish. I did some serious self talk as my windshield wipers whacked back and forth at high speed and the wind pushed against my car. "Why am I doing this?", "Screw the $35", "again, why?" I turned my turning signal on twice to pull off the interstate and turn around but I just couldn't bring my self to do it.

I'm stubborn. Horribly stubborn. i had told people I was doing this, I was going to do it. I had on my near the knee thigh length spandex, a pair of mesh capris, and a pair of lined windpants. On the top I had a fitted dry-fit tank. A long sleeve mesh top, a form fitting fleece, a nylon running jacket and the boys' flannel lined hooded industrial rain coat. Carroll College stocking cap under the helmet. Screw the biking gloves, I gloved up with my wool winter gloves. Everyone's spirits were high in the parking lot, it was sort of infectious. I visisted the ladies room, got my handlebar tag and off I sat.

No shit on the hills! but I was doing it. i was doing the ride, on my own in spite of the rain. I walked my bike up one hill but didn't feel so bad with about 10 other people walking with me. I got to the 18 mile point and was so wet my pants were now longer than when I had started and were hanging around my shoes about half way over them. My stocking cap underneath my helmet was starting to get wet. And the rain was starting to sting my face. As I wheeled up to the rest stop there was a sag van waiting and I said fuck it. I had attempted it, I was doing okay from a muscle stand point but I had reached my saturation point.

I crawled into the van with a half dozen other riders and then one guy swore he would vouch for all of us that we had biked the whole thing :) I felt bad, somewhat disappointed but I really did not want to continue in the rain.

I got my t-shirt which i paid for when I registered, I got my 40th anniversary Ironman Bike Ride pint glass, loaded the car and dropped the top two layers of pants and tops in a wet soggy puddle and drove home barefoot! My shoes weighed 10 lbs filled with water. I cranked the heat to full blast and home I came.

A hot shower later, lunch with a greasy burger and a nap and I'm still freezing. So...18 miles instead of 30.

Things I learned about myself today:
  • I'm still stubborn
  • I at least tried it
  • I can do things I sat my mind too
  • I get grumpy when soggy
  • There is a human saturation point !
So back to wrapping up in my blanket. I'm watching Willy Wonka and trying to stay awake. i'll sign up for another ride when it's not so wet and windy!

Saturday, April 29, 2006


I had to run a few errands this morning. I went to the post office first to mail two packages to friends. The counter clerk was friendly, made appropriate small talk, was efficient in my transaction. My packages are appropriately stamped priority and fragile to be delivered in two days time. Perfect.

I also stopped at the mall. I needed to go to Bath and Body Works but also wanted to just peruse through Barnes and Noble. I have several business trips coming up as well the framework for my summer vacation taking form. That means time to stock up on a few good books to haul along with me. I love new books. I have at times bought uses books off the internet when I wanted to buy an entire series at a time or what not but I also enjoy wandering through the bookstore looking at the new arrivals, suggested reads, and our recommendations table. While I was browsing the tables, two separate employees stopped me just long enough to ask if I was looking for something in particular. I answered no and they left me to my browsing. That's how I like to shop.

I walked out with Wicked, Memoirs of a Geisha, a book by the Dahli Lama's mother and Eat, Pray, Love. We are going to go see Wicked in July so I want to read the book. I skipped Geisha in the theaters because I hadn't read the book yet. Picked up the Dahli Lama book because it was on clearance and he was just here in town. The last one caught my eye with the cover and then drew me in with the subject. It was written by a thirty year old "I have it all" woman who found out she didn't and didn't know herself. She took a year to travel to Italy, India and Indonesia where she ate, prayed and fell in love respectfully. Looked interesting.

My final stop was Bath and Body works. How annoying to shop in there, but I needed a few things...lotion and a shower sponge. You are going to tell me I could go somewhere else but their really thick body cream is about the only lotion that works on my MN scaly dry legs. Anyway. As I was walking to the shower sponges an overly perky clerk asked me if I was gifting or coupon shopping. She makes two assumptions...I'm already on their mailing list and I must have a gift list. I am NOT one of those organized peoples with a gift closet full of things for upcoming birthdays etc. i answer no. She briefly walks away. Comes back two seconds later...oh, have you smelled our new fragrance as she shoves a bottle of magnolia blossom at my nose. No, I haven't, uh...I don't like that one.

So I get my few items and I go to the check out counter. Another clerk is checking me out and my persistent, assuming previous clerk comes up to me again. "Oh, if you spend over $25 you can buy this super soft robe for only $35? Are you sure you don't need it for an upcoming mother's day gift or bridal shower?" NO!!! I told her that the first time she asked if I was "gifting". Ugh!

I'm home with my new books, pear blossom lotion and sage green shower sponge. Now I am NOT going to organize my gift closet but I do have a couple belated birthday cards to write out.

Friday, April 28, 2006


Since my eye looks like a little kid tried to put on purple eyeliner I might as well match it by wearing my purple glasses. The eye sees okay, the brow bone and that lower lid definitely are feeling it. I'm just a dork! Oh well...just one more story to tell.

Happy Birthday, Heather!

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Heather...Happy Birthday to you!!!

Today is my best friend Heather's 28th birthday. This young woman is a rock. In her own life as well as in the lives of the student's she teaches, the friends she holds close and always for her family. The rock has a few cracks as any good weathered rock should have. It's been buried at times but it has always found it's way to the surface polished and shiny again. I can honestly say, without this young woman in my life, I'm not sure where I would be in my own life.

Heather and I met our freshman year of college at Carroll College in Helena, MT. I had spent the first semester with a completely incompatible roommate and Heather had spent a semester away from home and wasn't happy. At Christmas break she transferred to Carroll and I flew home from South Dakota to find a new roommate. I walked in the room and started crying immediately. She was so down to earth...I called my mom and exclaimed "Mom, she likes cows!" because she had all these cow and black/white decorations up. I was so excited. That was the start.

9 years later, we are still best friends. We have been through many things together in 9 years. Most recently this young woman, while teaching third grade full time, developing a wonderfully healthy relationship and still being there for her friends, she completed her Master's Degree online. She disciplined herself, followed a schedule and always stayed a head of the game. Way to go Heather!

This is Heather and I at a Phoenix Coyotes vs Colorado Avalanche game in Phoenix over Easter vacation 2002. She flew down to hang with us while I was in grad school.

Heather, Todd and I at the York Bar in Helena a couple summers ago. A trip back to Helena is not complete without a burger at York with friends.

Heather and I improvised a costume for her after I left my date crying in his truck in my driveway. he was a freak and I still wanted to go to the party. We raided her Dad's closet and off we went. Later that night she held me while I cried my eyes out in the ER. Thank you for that night!!! I love you Heather!!!

This is Heather and her Grandma Margaret at her "surprise" birthday party in April 2004. As I mentioned, Heather had been my rock for the year prior to this particular birthday and I needed to pay her back in some way. With the help of her mom, grandma, and Os I surprised her in her classroom with a party thrown from a distance! I got her a print that she has always wanted of a mountain goat jumping over a huge crevice. The title of the painting..."Faith". Heather gave me Faith when I couldn't find my own or trust that which I did have. Margaret gave Heather Faith often as well. Heather's grandma has passed away but she was a very very special woman.

Heather and I at York last summer. Like I said...a trip home to MT always means burgers at York. I'll be heading back this August and York is on the itinerary.

So Heather...bottom line: I am so proud of you this past year. You have come a long ways in more ways than one. Look at what you have accomplished! All my love to you, I'm thinking about you today.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Right there...

Freshly showered, hair still in a towel...5:45 am. Yup...that's when I shot this pic this morning. I was up and to work early. Anyway. Right there is my favorite spot. I don't know what it is about that little crook in my neck but if it's touched or kissed just right, I'm in heaven. Isn't it funny how a little spot like that can do that?

UPDATE: I had softball practice tonight. Guess I still need to practice. I pitched for about 40 minutes then decided I should take a turn at batting. On my second swing I hit the ball. Then the ball hit my eye. Yup! I hit the ball and fielded the ball all in the same play. I'm now without a contact lense and have this nice subtly devloping shiner. So a bonus HNT!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

36 degrees!?!?!

BRRRRRRRRrrrr....The first of May is literally just days away and this morning when I walked out of the house it was a brisk 36 degrees! What the hell!?!?!? Good thing Minnesota spring tulips are hardy!

I've been busy with a few projects over the last couple days so I haven't had time to do much else. Going to try to get to the gym tonight and then maybe see if I think of anything inspiring. Hope you are all having a great week!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Are you listening...HNT?

I have a bad habit. I don't listen well.

My hearing is great. I can hear things that an entire room full of people will not hear. There is nothing wrong with my hearing. There is a listening issue.

I have been known to completely zone out while on the phone with friends. I'm talking losing entire portions of conversation because I didn't listen. In conversation I also interrupt. The boy has brought it more to my attention lately as one of my annoying habits.

I know about it, I'm completely aware when other people do it to me and how I feel when they do it to me. In spite of all of this, I still have listening issues.
I'm working on it.

I have amazing interviewing skills at work. I can get things out of patients and strangers quite easily. Now I just have to let them finish their own sentences. Once I figure out where a person is going with a sentence or conversation I have this nasty habit of finishing their thought for them. I "hear" what they are going to say before they say it and say it myself....nasty habit!

So, I present to you an ear to listen...Happy HNT!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Wow...I work in a really cool place

Yesterday Sandi left me a comment asking if I saw the Dahli Lama...funny she should ask. i least at the time I sort of thought it was funny.

I had sort of spaced that he was going to be here because I was going to be traveling. So today, when I saw two of my coworkers standing at an exit window I stopped to say hi and ask them what they were doing. They said the Dahli Lama was getting ready to leave and they were waiting to see him. He has been here for the last week both as a speaker and a patient. There is a "special" floor where dignitaries go to receive their care...bullet proof glass, ID only access, etc. He had been up there.

So, there is an entourage' of course. A large group of suits (one chic suit...she was a grump) with shades and the little ear piece all talking and hand signaling to each other so I join my two friends to watch. We are about 15 feet from the door.

With a quick two fingers from "me to you" between two of the guards the front door opened and out walked the Dahli Lama in his traditional dress. There were four of us at the window standing like idiots gauking. He turned, flashed this beautiful huge smile and waved to us like a little kid and all four of us put our hands up and waved back just as enthusiatically and just as child like. Wow...the Dahli Lama!

His guards were attempting to usher him into his limo but he threw them for a loop. Completely nonchalantly he turned away from the car and stopped too speak with a young man in a wheelchair with a cast on his leg. Took a quick photo, smiled and waved and into the car he went.

Yes, I had tears in my eyes. Yes, I was giddy. Yes, it made me shiver. And over and over again I just said in my head "wow, the Dahli Lama!"

So Sandi...I did see him and even more amazing, he saw me and acknowledged my presence. Wow!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Honey, I'm Home

My brain is fried from driving a total of 1350 miles between Thursday morning at 10:40 (I left town a bit late) and tonight at 6:10 pm when I got home. So I used the miles of driving to take notice of a few things and take count....

  • Total miles driving: 1350
  • Total number of stops: 9 (to pee, to gas up, to sleep)
    • Number of roadside naps as part of these stops: 3, yes, I sleep in my car
  • Rivers crossed (that I can remember)
    • Root River
    • Cheyenne River
    • Missouri River--6 times! Figure that one out!
  • Time line crossed: just one but again, 6 times!
  • Top price for a gallon of gas: $2.79 at Chamberlain, SD
  • I-90 Driving Conditions: in Serious need of repair
  • Number of Idiot Drivers between here and there: Too damn many to count!
  • Road goodies consumed
    • One old fashion chocolate donut
    • One large cup of Karuba coffee with cream
    • One liter of Mountain Dew
    • Two liters of water
    • One small bag gummy worms
    • One small bag melted and re-gelled gummy bears (they taste the same but have little bitty bubbles in them)
    • Half pound of Nibs (red ones)
    • One junior bacon cheeseburger, small fry and a small Frosty (takes serious talent to eat a Frosty while driving 85 mph)
    • One bag reduced fat Italian Gherdetto chips
    • One six piece gas station mozarello sticks
    • Half of a small package of peanut M&Ms
    • One liter Cool Blue Powerade
    • Two McD's cheese burgers
  • Animals seen (dead or alive)
    • Cows: in the thousands (and lots of fresh calves running and jumping in the sun)
    • Tatonka: (that's Lakota for Buffalo if you haven't seen Dances of Wolves) in the hundreds
    • Pheasants: in the hundreds, maybe a thousand total
    • Bugs: A billion squished on my windshield (and that damn blue shit at the gas station does NOT take them off, just smears them good)
    • Badger: one but he was PISSED OFF
    • Horses: At least a 100 or 200
    • Dinosaur: One, constructed out of scrap metal with a human on a leash
    • Turkeys: there's a flock of about 17 in mom and dad's yard
    • Raccoons: one scurrying out of the shed, a few dead along the road
    • Farm cats: too many to count but one very pregnant one hanging out on the front porch at mom and dad's
    • Sheep: again, hundreds and with fuzzy baby lambs
    • Dogs: One at the nursing home, one dead on the interstate and a third on the shoulder looking at his dead buddy (YES, I CRIED and NO, I wasn't the one that hit it!) :(
  • Naps taken at home: Too many to count
  • Earliest I got up this weekend: 4:45 am! Sunrise Mass on Sunday :)
  • Temperature range: 80+ degrees on Thrusday, in the mid 40's today
  • Average MPH OVER the posted speed limit
    • Going: at least 12-15 over
    • Coming back: only about 7-10 over
  • Number of speeding tickets: NONE!
    • Two Minnesota Highway Patrol on the other side of the road
    • One Tribal Sheriff in an SUV who played games with me for 10 miles before blowing by me
    • One South Dakota Highway Patrol at the on ramp in Mitchell but he got stuck at the light :)
  • Number of cats happy to have me home : 2!
Now, a hot cup of tea and to bed with myself a bit early! I'm on call tomorrow.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I'm not dead

I made it to South Dakota in one piece, I haven't even taken my own lap top out of it's bag, and other than to turn the cell on to call Os over analog roam to wish him a happy birthday I have done nothing but eat and sleep! i head back to MN tomorrow and will try to do a real post before I hit the hay tomorrow night.

Happy Easter to all of you though. Hope you all had time to relax, reflect and enjoy time with friends and family this weekend!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Having a bad week...

I have barely even skimmed the blogs I normally read, my email has been only slightly more skimmed and I'm not at work yet this Wednesday morning and I have already put in 25 hours this week! My laundry is done but sure in heck haven't felt like folding it when I haev gotten home either night this week. I leave tomorrow for South Dakota and am so busy at work keeping things together I actually seriously considered NOT going home for Easter. I said screw it, and I'm leaving tomorrow morning. I might just sleep through the long weekend. What the hell! I'm Grumpy....

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Windows opened...

It's officially spring...I know the real first day of spring was a few weeks ago but here in southeastern Minnesota winter tried to hold on for a bit longer. It has been gray, cold and rainy for the last several weeks. Days like those weigh on one's psyche.

Last night I took it easy. I joined a group of friends for drinks, appetizers and birthday cake early and was home by 8:30 pm. I talked to Os for a good hour while driving home and then getting ready for bed. I need a good talk. When I hung up with him, I rolled over, turned off the bedside lamp and was out cold until about 7:30 this morning. I looked at the clock, rolled back over and slept for another hour.

I have now spent my morning home and feel great. I watched the Today show in my robe with a cup of coffee, showered and blew my hair out, and now have been cleaning. I have the kitchen sink emptied, scrubbed the sink and the floor in the kitchen, am on my second load of laundry, and have the hardwood floors slept as well as the litter box cleaned.

The best part of all of that hard work...I have the WINDOWS in the house OPEN! The sun is shining, the windows are letting in a nice fresh cool breeze. Makes the whole house smell better! Now it is officially spring!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

It's still Thursday...and my HNT is UP!!

I originally began picturing this shot in my mind yesterday after the particularly challenging day I had at work. It wasn't necessarily a "bad" day at work but with that said, it was a challenge. Today, the challenge got bigger and kept me there longer. Overall it was a week where you feel the weight ON your shoulders and at the end of the day IN your shoulders. So I give to shoulders.

I personally think the human back is beautiful. By looking at a person's back, their stance, their pose, you can look into their day, their week, or their lives. So what's my story?

I changed the color on the picture to hide the real story. In the originally colored version you can see the redness through my traps due to me kneading them with my fingers as I was sitting on the couch a few minutes before heading upstairs to call it a night. The definition of the picture in my shoulder blades tells you my upper body carries a lot of responsibility...literally and figuratively.

My job requires me to depend on my shoulders and back literally every day. An injury would put me at a desk job. That you can condition yourself for. The hours at the gym, the weights, the massages. All of those things define the muscles, train them to fire, condition them to perform. It's the things muddling around in my head that cause the true strain on this back. The responsibility I carry on these shoulders is two fold...that expected by others, and that expected by me.

The responsibility put on one's shoulders by others is a compliment. It means they have sized you up and found you to be capable of the task. They trust you.

The responsibility you place on your own shoulders can be a crimpling. That's what I'm working on right now. There is a significant load laid upon these shoulders. it is always around this time of year that I begin to think about that. Are the things I'm carrying around really all that important? Do I need to lighten my load, reprioritize? What should stay on these shoulders, and who put it there? The respectful coworker with the "oh you can handle it" attitude or me, the better do it myself because at least I know it's done right attitude?

What if I was given a cross to bear? Could these shoulders handle it? I'm not sure they could.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

HNT...coming later today

Well, shit! I spent 13 hours at work, had my HNT all planned out, got the camera and myself ready and my batteries need charged! I swear to God I'm going to get this picture up this week. you'll understand why I want this particular picture up once you read the story that is suppose to be going a long with it.

It's almost midnight, my contacts are all sticky. I just finished writing two hospital admission order sets, doing 5 dictations from yesterday and reading my personal email. I will be posting an HNT shot but not until I'm done with work tomorrow....bummer, there goes 30 + comments for me :(

Happy HNT everyone!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Relaxed and ready

As I mentioned, normally when I go away on conference trips I use them as a chance to re-energize. Pull my thoughts together, write in my journal, take bubble baths and hang out alone at night in my hotel room after a day of learning. Not so on this last trip. I came back from Chicago more tired than when I left. My journal had not been even scribbled in. no bubble baths at all. I crashed in my bed every night completely exhausted and only mumbling about how early I was going to have to be up the next morning.

The boyfriend has also been quite busy with a big deadline coming up this past Friday at work. He too was burning the candle at both ends and ready for a break. Break we did...

It was nothing earth shattering. We didn't even go very far. All we did was use a few frequent stay points to get a hotel room in The Cities, roam around the MOA, and go see a movie (Ice Age: The Meltdown). We paid for lunch and the movie. That was it. Didn't take a computer, didn't take a cell call. Slept in late. Ate breakfast together (didn't even have to pay for that). Today we did each make a couple little purchases at the mall but over all an inexpensive, quiet weekend away.

We talked about lots of things, important and mindless both. Agree we both make a very good effort to try to NOT let our work get us so busy that we forget everything else we want to accomplish. but also agree that no matter how hard we try, it happens. It gave me the energy to keep trying though.

I have started investigating what it will take for me to get an advanced masters in physician assistant studies. It will all be online with the exception of 400 clinical hours. It will be concentrated in forensic medicine. The "online" nature of the class means I have to direct myself. No must show up to class to ensure that I am participating. Have to manage my own time and get the work done on my own. I think I'm ready. I'm relaxed, renewed, and ready.

What a perfect weekend...