Tuesday, July 31, 2007

T-4 hours

That would be about the time my lazy ass needs to wake up to catch the plane out of Midway Airport. I just finished packing and thought I would just check in with y'all.

I wanted to mention (since I rarely post about tri-stuff anymore) that I went to the GI doctor to see about the lingering issues with the food poisoning two weeks ago (no appetite, losing weight, stomach cramps and severe dehydration) and we got to talking about my back, and he did that reflect thing on my knee (where he knocks it with that hammer thing). My right leg doesn't move. My left one did, almost took his eye out, but my right one was like a dead weight. He thinks that might be a problem. Oh well. I'll deal when I get back next week.

I was also planning to go for my first bike ride last Friday, but due to a tingle in the back and some looming rain clouds, my goals did not materialize. Alas, we plan for another day. And that's the training report.

I want to say thanks to everyone who has read this blog in the last few days. I know I got really reflective, and it had nothing to do with triathlon (even though the word "transition" does seem to come up a lot, so there's that), and the comments both on the posts and in the emails have been wonderful. My words in this blog can not possibly express how grateful I am to have people care so much about me and what is going on. I honestly could never have fathomed the support I have received.

My perspective on the last few weeks has been this: Yeah, things can suck sometimes, and yeah, I can feel angry/crummy/sad/whatever, but when things get uncomfortable, its a signal that maybe I need to make some changes. So despite all the uncertainties and fears I have processed, I am grateful for them, because it forces me to make some progress of my own. I can't sit around hoping others will change to suit my needs, to make me happy or secure - I need to do it for myself.

It's funny - for someone that spends so much time in her head, I am starting to get the thoughts into words, which is extremely cathartic. I know - sounds obvious for a psychologist to say, but sometimes its easy to forget that I just need to "get out of my own way."

I know my favorite posts by other bloggers aren't always about the training, but about their everyday struggles, triumphs, heartbreaks and joys. I love listening tot he different perspectives, and love coming away from other's posts thinking, "Right on, they totally nailed it." It's amazing how much you can hear in someone's voice without ever actually hearing their voice.

So I board the plane in a few short hours, to prepare to send my sister into a new phase in her life, and contemplate my own ongoing changes. Since I have not yet started to train again, y'all might be hit with a few more "life" posts before the week's end. Hope that's cool.

See ya from the Island!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Expectations

In one day, I leave for Rhode Island, to begin preparation for my sister, Devin’s, wedding. Have I mentioned before that I will be officiating it? Yes, in fact, I am a Reverend.

Seriously. I have a certificate and everything.

I will be taking the computer and my kicky new camera, so I can hopefully download a play-by-play of the week, which hopefully involves a lot of beach time, leisure reading, and good ol’ family fun. I am really excited for it all, for the vacation, and for the celebration that my sister so very much deserves.

As the pending nuptials loom on the horizon, I have begun thinking about what I would want from a life partner. I am 31 (just turned – did I mention that?;) and while I never really thought marriage was what I wanted (still don’t really), I do embrace the idea of a solid, healthy, long-term relationship.

Recently, I have has a number of incredible people in my life to whom I have turned as I go through the transition of new and changing relationships. They have guided me as I have begun to sort out what I expect, what I want, what I deserve. And I have come to this:

I want someone that smiles when they think about me.

Sounds simple, yeah?

But look closer – there’s more to it.

In that statement, I expect to be thought about, I expect to be considered, I expect to be cared for. I expect that the other person not only thinks about me, but thinks about something I said/did to make them smile. It could be a snappy one-liner I threw out, or a funny look I gave, or my obsession with Gummy Bears, or the way I hold an invisible microphone and sing every song on the radio, or the soap-box stances I take, or the way I laugh at myself when I trip, or the fact that I don’t drink alcohol but love to get jacked up on coffee, or the way the area between my eyes crinkles when I think really hard.

I expect to be appreciated.

I expect that the other person has, at some point, looked at me and thought, “I am so lucky I could explode.” And then later thought it again, causing the smile.

I expect that, in the thought that made them smile, they anticipate being with me again.

I expect that the smile will lead to a phone call, just to say, “Hi.”

I expect “cards on the table,” a true and honest inventory of their feelings.

I expect to be called on my shit, and then to be stuck by as I struggle to fix it.

I expect them to allow me to do the same back.

I expect to have my hand held.

I expect to be both listen to and heard.

I expect health and a willingness for reflection.

Is this a tall order? Perhaps. And this list is just the beginning. And by no means do I expect the other person to be perfect. Far from it, as I am far less than perfect myself. I have my flaws, but I have also been working hard on identifying them, and making changes in my life to put me in a better place.

I expect that the other is willing to do this, too.

Believe me, I have no fantasies of the “ideal” love, or the fairy tale life where “love conquers all.” But I don’t think my list is unrealistic. I think everyone should expect this. And this also isn’t all about what I want - in return, I would give that person all that and more. I would hope that they would expect that, too. Even Steven.

I expect reciprocity.

My needs are simple. I don’t require a particular career, or car, or house, or style of clothes (although I used to have this thing about wearing the right shoes – don’t ask, I’m over it now…sort of…unless it involves socks and sandals….then yes, there’s still an issue). Because you can’t see this stuff in the dark. You can’t see this stuff in the glow of the light over dinner in a dark corner of a restaurant. You can’t see this stuff in the tough times that inevitably will happen, and through which you will have to persevere together.

It’s in those tough times, that I hope both me and the other can recall the time when we thought about each other, and smiled.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Branching Out


This is a picture of my head.

I post it because this is where I live most of the time. Like a house.

And sometimes, I don't always keep a clean house.

In fact, sometimes my head is so cluttered with the shoulds/woulds/coulds of life, that I over analyze myself into a coma.

I question myself, my intentions, my fears, my behaviors.

I fill the house with so much fear and uncertainty that one might think there was a gas explosion that crumbles its entire structure.

I fear most the future. I know - Who doesn't? But I spend so much time wishing I knew what would happen, because I believe if I did, it would make the here-and-now so much less painful.

Most recently, I have obsessed over my ended romantic relationship where the friendship-part still exists, and moreso the fear of letting go and letting the other explore his needs, and then letting myself take a leap into my own new "situation."

Its even harder when the old relationship becomes not just a friend, but a best friend - The type of friend you end up spending your whole summer with riding bikes and climbing trees with like 10-year olds. But the danger is that, when the summer ends, you have to first hand witness the moments in which you stop being the tree-climbing friend, and he starts packing up to move away. It's a loss all over again.

At the same time tree-climbing friend begins on his new adventure, another friend pulls into town - A friend that, while you may not climb trees with, you may lay under the trees and look at the leaves with this friend. You see the tree that you once scaled with glee and fearlessness in a slightly different way. Inside your mind, you mourn this slow change, and you touch the scars on your legs that you got from climbing the bark and the branches. The scars aren't the bad ones - they don't hurt, ever. They are with you forever, a constant reminder of that summer of climbing, and that your friend is still a part of you, no matter how many other friends come into both of your lives.

That no matter how far away that friend moves, its never farther than a bike can travel.

These are the things that live in my "house." Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

WTF

As if waking up to the news that Lindsey Lohan was busted, yet again, for DUI and coke possession, wasn't bad enough, this happens:

"Vinokourov Tests Positive for Doping; Astana Team Withdraws From the Tour."

Seriously. Seriously.

Now, from La Lohan, I expect this. She's bat-shit crazy, and she's got a crazy family to boot. It was simply a matter of time. Sad, but not entirely.

But I'm about one Stage win away from being done with the Tour. For the last several years, this was one of the best parts of July (my own birthday being THE best). Sitting in front of the tube, watching hours of racing, up the hills, down the hills, the time trials, the crashes, the human interest stories - Cycling has never been more dramatic! Larry and I even have a susi dinner bet on the winner (doesn't betting make everything more fun? No? Wanna bet?)

But now, I am getting sort of tired of all the doping allegations. Last year it was Landis (who I still refuse to believe doped, and no, I don't want to debate this), and Lance has always been dogged by suspicion and he-said-she-said allegations (again, still don't believe it until I see the positive samples).

I totally get the pressure these guys are under to perform in their sport. But it still makes me sad that this happens. I really don't have a whole lot more to say about this.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go lie next to the Felt, and pray for the soul of cycling.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Racine


Hellllooooo!!!!

Today is the first day of the new Project Procrastination.

Why?

Cause I got a digital camera, kiddies!!!!!

I have joined the real world, and let me tell you, it's fantastical. I just got home from watching my buddy, Larry, race in Racine but a bit ago, and I can already show you pics. Hopefully, you read about brush with fame (see previous post) which was super-duper cool. I saw IronWil's husband on the way to the finish line to find Larry and we got the chance to chat again, and he is super cool. Really, really nice, down-to-earth guy. Them is some good peoples. Meeting them was one of the best parts of the weekend - Real Live Bloggers!

So here is the run down, via my new pics:



Getting ready for our walk down the beach for the point-to-point start. It was brrrr-cold! I had to wear TWO sweaters!

One might think Larry is contemplating his race strategy. Really, he is wondering if he really has to wait in the long line to take his last poop and then fix the hole he tore in his wetsuit. Nice!


And it's about to start!!!!



Out of the water and into transition!


Larry on the Yellow Hornet - He tore up the course, possibly a PR on the bike, but he never set his watch so we won't know til the results.


Being silly after the first loop - things must be going his way!





Or...not so much.....Rounding out for the second loop....Game face on....



And he finishes! Larry having a post-race snack - I got the cookie with the pink frosting - it was my fee for the pictures!



Time to pack up the car and go home!

I haven't checked results so I don't know how Wil did, but I am sure she finished so congrats all around!!!


I'm so burned!!!! Ouch!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

i am a loser

So I am in Racine to watch Larry race, and as I am waiting for him to rack his bike (its like 730pm), who walks literally right by but IronWil. And what do I do? Act like an ass.

To be fair, Larry said I didn't, but I was stunned. I guess its just weird when you read these bloggers more than you talk to your actual friends, and then low and behold, there one is, and IronWil to boot! I literally had no idea what to say, and proceeded to tell her that. Yeah, I did. And then I was trying to tell her about a comment I left on one of her posts and I was literally, like, chewing my tongue. Good thing Larry was there to wipe the drool and interpret my garble for her.

Geesh.

And she was nice as all get out. I wasn't sure what to expect, but she was really nice. And she looks exactly like her pictures, which I guess makes sense, we should all look like our pictures, but I am convinced I don't look like my pictures, and that in real life, I am thinner and have better hair.

And less awkwardly large boobs.

And a smaller forehead.

Sigh.

Anyhoo, so I met Wil, drooled on myself, mumbled a few words about liking her blog, starting mine after I read hers for the first time, and then Larry carried me dazed and confused back to the car. We had dinner and I tried to explain the significance, that is mostly because I really did start blogging after reading hers, and that she struggles with so many of my same issues that sometimes its like reading my own mind, and also because she has really made a mark in this little blogging world we all love. Seriously, everyone pretty much reads her. As Duane is fond of saying, she is like "blogging royalty."

Okay, that's enough idiocy for the evening. I have to get some sleep, because it sounds like it will be an early morning.

And oh boy, do I have a doozy of a post tomorrow (not race related)!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Alive!

Need. Sleep.
Need. Vacation.
Need. Serenity.

Ahh. What ever happened to that old saying, "The lazy days of summer?" Nothing lazy about ol' girl over here, baking in the Chicago humidity and cracked out on Venti Starbucks, tyring to tackle the ills of child welfare.

A big thanks to all those who have hunted me down, checking to see if I have a pulse, particularly after this past weekend's food fiasco. Without any yucky details, it is still working its way through my system, which is contributing to my fatigue. But hey, I haven't seen this flat of a tummy since the good old days of tricycles, bobby socks, and a Ricky Schroeder-Silver Spoon crush (aka pre-puberty). Sure I may be dehydrated as an m-effer, but Nicole Richie's got nothing on my pelvic bones.

Of course, I'm one chocolate long john donut away from my normal bloat....

Lots of races this weekend - we got Larry and a bunch of bloggers out in Racine for the 1/2 Iron (whoo-hoo!) and of course, Cindy Jo at the IM Lake Placid, for whom I got to give it up for "Ol' Girl Chicago!"

I suck with the picture thing, I owe ya all about a billion (and I always love to show off my rocking good tan). I am working on it, so hang tight.

Later skaters!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Ugh and WAY TO GO!

I have so much to report, including a recent convo with my coach (I still have one - I know, really?) but I am nursing my first stint with food poisoning (or something) from dinner at my sister's bachelorette party last night (and no, its not beer poisoning, it really is food) but as noted in this sentence, I am a bit "tied up" at the moment so details tomorrow.

Congrats to Kelly on her first tri - Way to keep it in the family!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Stuck in the Middle

A tri-related post!

Yay!

After two weeks of PT and things going relatively smoothly, I suffered a huge setback about two weeks ago. I believe I got re-injured during physical therapy, when I was instructed to do this side lunge-trunk twist thingy. Since that time, my back has been HORRIBLE.


I went back to PT last Tuesday, and the therapist was like, "WTF?" and I was like, "Yeah, I know." So I could do nothing but get electric stim, massage, and ultrasound, while I cried a bit and generally was pissed the f-off.


Fast forward to yesterday. I return to PT, tell him that my back got progressively worse, and I had to kick the Ibuprofen back up. The leg pain was out of control, and my ability to bend was nil. He was like, "I just don't understand." And then I made the mistake of telling him my take on the situation, and that my chiropractor (who I saw Monday was also like, "WTF?") thought it might have been the lunge-twisty thing.


Oh boy.


He got pissed. He was like, "Why am I the scapegoat?" and told me my chiropractor didn't know anything, and I basically then spent the rest of PT trying to make him not mad, and less defensive. When I left I was like, "What just happened?" Here I am, back to almost square one, and I'm comforting him?!?!?!


I assessed the situation and concluded that my therapist, who is hugely hooked up with the top docs in the business (that's how I got my referral to him in the first place) took a huge ego blow when not only could he NOT fix my problem in a few short weeks (like he promised) but that he may have actually hurt me, and I have to return to the referral doc and let her know, thus making his reputation look bad. This is not really a stretch conclusion, though, as he pretty much spent most of his time stressing about what Dr. Referral was going to say.


Whatever.


There is still hope that I am going to be able to ride my bike in a little over a week, but who knows. Fingers crossed. I have PT once again tomorrow before Dr. Ego takes a two week vacation to Italy, then I likely get to hook up with one of his minions. My formal opinion on that later.


So that's what I got. I did notice that Ironman USA is quickly approaching, and wanted to give some quick words of support to those in it, especially Cindy Jo, who has been a great support to me in the last several months. Go Cindy Jo!!!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cake Hangover

As the sugar high starts to wear off, I am left with the withdrawal shakes, sticky fingers and a ring of chocolate around my mouth. But dang, it was good.

The binge started Sunday, with an ice cream cake from my favroite palce, Love's Yogurt. Deelish. All three pieces.

Then yesterday, my boss took me out to lunch, which was finished by key lime pie. I never had it before but yummers again.

Then last night, my sister, mom, and Larry had cake for me, yellow with chocolate frosting, which finished off my 31st birthday.

But the big news of the day was my brother's national firefighter's test results, which ranked him as 32nd, and in the "Outstanding" catagory. Right on!!


Oh, and he got engaged last weekend. March 15th is the date, I hear.



These pics are from last year, when me and my sisters went to visit him for senior weekend. He's a bad-ass, and we're very proud of him!!!!!

Monday, July 9, 2007

31 - A New Year, Part II

Today is my birthday (you could probably tell by the modest pictorial post before this). I usually want to down play this day, not because of the age thing (seriously, 31 is still quite young) but because I don't like the fuss. But for some reason, I feel like I need to celebrate this day more for how rich my life is with family and friends, and how far my life has come, even in the last year alone.

To that end, I came up with a list of things I have learned in the last year. Hard to believe I knew anything at all before it!

In the past year:

I learned that “everything happens for a reason” is more than just a neat little saying you give to friends who are going through a tough time and you are not sure what else to say. Things really do happen for a reason – it’s just that sometimes, that reason isn’t always clear, so we must be patient for it to show us.

I learned that my favorite power bar is Go Lean Rolls, mostly because they taste like candy.

I learned that too many Go Lean Rolls, particularly when not training = just plain rolls…on my belly.

I learned that five hours on a trainer is really like seven on the road.

I learned that two-hour treadmill runs aren’t that bad.

I learned how to study for a licensing exam and survive the actual thing.

I learned the indescribable, heart-choking-the-wind-out-of-me joy of passing, and thus finally being done with school.

I learned what it means to be on my own- emotionally, physically and professionally- and that it did not, in fact, kill me.

I learned that bangs are GENIUS when covering a large forehead.

I learned that living with your sister and her fiancĂ© for five months might sound like a good idea…but not so much.

I learned that I can be a bridesmaid for my best friend wedding’s, attend it as a single girl, and make it out alive (and sober, and not regretting it the next morning).

I learned that a floor-length seer-sucker bridesmaid’s dress is not as awful as it sounds, especially with a kick-ass tan – Holla!

I learned a lot of valuable lessons working for a narcissist, the most important of which are that I am more than a dollar sign, and how to stand up for myself.

I learned what it’s like to later work for a boss who gives you a “free day” just for working hard.

I learned that the journey can be better than the finish.

I learned that I need goals to train, or I simply don’t train.

I learned that I may not always be the most accessible friend, but I am always, always thinking about you. And I am working on the accessible thing. Daily.

I learned that a biweekly pedicure is more than just a treat – it’s a necessity for sanity.

I learned that my new favorite color is pink.

I learned that my siblings are adults, and I need to treat them like that.

I learned that my siblings love me despite this.

I learned how to just let it go and mind my own beeswax.

I learned that my family wanted me to learn that a long time ago.

I learned how small a studio apartment really is. Yikes.

I learned that I am an aunt, and a darn good one.

I learned that I am a sister, and a darn good one.

I learned that training is the best excuse to procrastinate just about everything – and it’s healthy, so who can argue?

I learned how to make peace, mostly with myself.

I learned that this peace, sometimes, is a work in progress.

I learned how to start a website, and use Instant Messenger.

I learned that sometimes you can make friends that you never see.

I learned that I have a lot to say, and sometimes it funny, and sometimes it’s a complaint, but I always have something to say.

I learned that not everyone actually wants to hear it.

I learned that sometimes we can only plan so much, and then we just have to let someone, or something, else take over.

I learned that I have an addiction to country music, and if lovin’ it is wrong….

I learned the multiple uses for a Swiss ball.

I learned how much coffee is now needed to stay up all night.

I learned how to sell a house.

I learned that sometimes even the most difficult situations can turn out more wonderfully than you could have ever imagined.

I learned that there are multiple ways to love one person.

I learned that I can let myself be loved back.

I learned that decisions often will make themselves.

I learned how to forgive, but still can’t grasp the “forget” part.

I learned the joys of owning the Gooch, the gift that keeps on giving.

I learned how to start a private practice and sell myself.

I learned how to recover from an injury and fix myself.

I learned how to gain a few pounds and love myself.

I learned to set limits and respect myself.

And finally, but of the utmost importance on this list:

I learned how to be grateful.

I am so grateful for my life, my family, my friends and my growth.

There is nothing else in the world I need.

Here’s to the next 30 years.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

31- A Pictoral Retrospective


Alas, tomorrow I officially turn 31 - I know, I know - How does one go from looking 21 to being 31? I get that lot, and frankly, it's no easy feat these days.


So I thought I would show you my transformation from a shiny happy baby to a bright young academic star, to me in present time.

However, given that 31 years is a lot of time to cover in one post, I have decided to do the long retrospective here, and then post one picture each day this week of my life. Yes, friends, that is my gift from me to you - pictures of myself.


No need to thank - just take it in.



Me and my brother Kevin - I was furious he got to wear the sailor suit. And to add insult to injury, I just saw myself in the mirror for the first time, dressed as an Easter egg and sporting a very large forehead. Can you tell I'm a bit disgruntled?


Cute dress, nice tan...a foreshadowing of things to come....


The only thing sadder than my brother's argyle disaster here is the fact that they never did catch the guy that stole my upper lip...



Ah, this would be my "Blue Period." Dressed in blue, just found out I had a new sister with a smaller forehead stealing my spot light, got a chronically happy brother who loves to smile - what's a two year-old to do? But those are some killer highlights, yeah?



Nope, not yet - still haven't caught the guy...



Oh, but look - my mom tried to cheer me up with a fashionable hair cut and snappy new dress. I totally rocked those knee-highs.


Basketball - my first love. I played for Edison Park for several years, and many of those under the coaching hand of my father. This was also the year I discovered the joys of the french braid.



And at the beginning of my sophomore year of high school, I discovered the joys of cross-country...and a summers' worth of Sun-In...



We quickly jump to my senior year of college (god, if only the real high school could have gone that fast). In fact, I believe this might be my graduation party, with my sister Devin.


My cousin's wedding, but here's a good story - My date to this wedding actually called his friends to come and crash it, and then when I told him they couldn't, he left. Wow. That was a happy night. But my sisters, as usual, picked me up, put in a beer in my hand, and reminded my that dudes can suck sometimes.


My brother Kevin's bridal shower - not the best pic of me, but I knew my mom would like this pictures because she looks cute. This one's for you, Big Mar.


At my brother's wedding. This was the last picture of me and my dad before he got sick. It is my favorite picture. Ever. I miss him.

Me and Larry, right after my dad's death, at the Christmas party my dad's district threw. I got a tad sauced. But I like this picture because we look happy. I was with the love of my young life that night, and he was doing what he did a lot at that time- hold me up.

Me and the sibs. Love them. More than they'll ever know. Thank god Nolan cut his hair.


Ellen's wedding day. Again, great dress, good hair, nice tan...and Ellen looked good too.

My graduation in 2004. I look a bit delirious in this picture. I was. It was a long five years and the dissertation sucked.


Devin's Master's ceremony graduation, May 2007. All the Girlie Lovelies all grown up and in their full glory. Fantastic.

Till tomorrow.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Refreshed

I'm back, I'm burned, and I'm ready to take on my work again!

What a weekend - so relaxing it was sick. I managed to get my "But-I-Never-Burn" self burned today. Great.... The bride for the wedding I am standing up for this weekend will be so happy...Personally, I happen to think that bright red and peeling goes fantastically with floor-length seer sucker blue-and-white strapless. Thoughts?

Anyhoo, I ahve already started back to work, and have just been home for but a few minutes, so I best be off...so much to do!

Oh, and of course - pix to follow....