Wednesday, May 28, 2008

And Then It was Wednesday.

Still not up to blogging par. These random absences will most definitely occur during periods of busyness, burnout and feeling unable to publish true feelings moments in my life.

I feel that last week may have been one of the most stressful weeks I have in awhile, and it was unexpectedly so. But it is over now (sort of), and one thing I know and appreciate about myself is the ability to compartmentalize certain life happenings in order to maintain balance in other areas while still laughing and having a good time. So by the time I got to the enjoyable portion of last weekend, I was able to enjoy it without much thought for the stresses that awaited my return on Tuesday.

This is not to say that I am always a peach to be around. Tom can attest to the fact that like every woman ever designed, I can be moody, irrational and sometimes just downright crazy. I am sure there is a book out there he can read which will tell him that it is not his fault and that it is because I am female and therefore he shouldn't take it personally. That is, if he could read. Bam. Got em.

We went hiking & camping on Sunday/Monday with 13 friends and it was a great time. I haven't gotten any pictures off my camera yet, but don't worry my friends, I will. We hiked about two miles back into the Hell's Canyon Wilderness (great name right?) to a slot canyon called the Narrows before setting up camp under some nice shade trees and taking off to explore all of the cliff diving opportunities. Sunday night, we cooked up some tasty Beef Strognoff ala bag and drank some delicious Bandit Red Wine ala cardboard container which was actually very tasty. Monday, after some more exploration fun time, we finally headed home and back to the real hell-urban-wilderness.

Luckily this week is a short one because I am leaving for Ohio Thursday (tomorrow) morning for a friend's wedding. Since I grew up in Amish country without electricity, internet blogging is out of the question. Just joking, we totally had lights, just not a dishwasher. Hello Ms Dial-up, how have you been lately?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

GRE is done.

I am a bad blogger.

I just finished up my hell week. Without getting into the stormy details, some stuff went down at work that just about made me put in my two weeks. I battled through the whole debacle without bringing a hammer to work and tried to just focus on the fact that I had to take the GRE yesterday morning.

After almost getting completely lost and missing the test due to falty Google Map directions, I arrive at 7:58 for my 8:00 test just slightly flustered. But luckily I think the extra adrenaline helped me focus (I am weird like that) and I did much better than I hoped for.

Today we are going overnight backpacking to another water canyon with a group of buddies so I am excited to stress relief in a beautiful place.

Catch ya later!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


It has been a long and crappy week both at work and trying to prepare for this stupid graduate school entrance exam. I am pretty pissed about something right now and it is just boiling under the surface of my splenda-soaked smile. I am just trying to hold on until Saturday morning after the GRE to do the shots of tequila and loose my mind. I really need a vacation.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Treking the Salome Jug

You know why I put pictures on my blog? Because my pictures tell a better story than I ever can. I am but a mere soul, adding 1s and 0s to the ever-growing frontier of the wild wild internet, and the best possible contribution I can make is in the form of thousands of RGB values which tell a visual story. Confused? Well forget all the mumbo jumbo of actually how a picture I observe through a camera lens gets turned into a digital rendition and just look at the damn photos already.

We went canyoneering at Salome Jug on Sunday with a group of 12 friends. It was phenomenal. That sounds like a broken record of every "river trip" I take I know, but it is sort of true. In the past month I have explored three separate but amazing rivers, all close located in the area of Arizona about 2 hours NE of Phoenix. This river flows into the Roosevelt Lake Dam though versus the Verde which flows into the Bartlett Lake Dam. Like it matters.

The Salome Jug as it is called, is basically a slot canyon that is flowing down elevation and and it traversable by sliding, climbing and jumping down each waterfall to the next deep pool and swimming to the next falls. There is one major falls at the end which is over 30 feet and requires a rappel to the bottom so climbing near is needed (although I see a way to get out to a jumpable 30 ft cliff if you had to). It was about a five hour trip but due to all the swimming, rock scrambling and climbing, I was pretty tired by the end. It was a tough day on the knee, but completely worth every bit of knee swellage it incurred. Some things are just too fun to past up.

Photo Story Commences..

The hike started out with a couple miles down to the river overlooking Lake Roosevelt from the north. It was pretty exposed and hot but quite beautiful, except for the little weird bugs flying around.

Once we got to the river, it was basically water from here on out. Most of us hiked with water sandals and a dry bag because swimming was going to be the main mode of transport.

Many of the waterfalls seemed to run down natural smooth slides. This was of course the easier and most fun way to descend. Weeeaaaahh! Go Tom go.

Between each falls were deep canyon pools that we would swim through. The water was chilly but not cold and we didn't wear any wussy wet suits (shivering is just extra fitness training right).

Crazy Rower #2 and Em show off their jumping skills for the camera. At this point, we got out our climbing gear and prepared for the rappel to get down the next falls. It was about a 35 foot rappel with a sketch 20 foot traverse out to it (made safe by clipping in to a safety rope).

Hannah is tired, hungry, wet and happy. She wishes every day could be just like this.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hello Holy Heat

When I walked out of work this afternoon to rush to therapy, I had good intentions of driving to therapy to give my knee a little break (it has been a little swollen as of late). But then the wave of heat hit me and I knew I needed to ride my bike there.

What can I say, I am somewhat masochistic. I wanted to see reintroduce my body to real heat. It was a record high 109 degrees today. Hmm it went from 95 to 109 in a day. I drank an entire bottle of water in the 15 minute ride (each way).

Welcome back summer.

Sunday's trip to the Salome Jug Canyon was RFC which stands for 'really freaking cool'. I am going to start using the TLA for RFC since I say think a lot of things are RFC and it will save a lot of time. I will blog about the RFC canyoneering maybe tomorrow but here is one pic for now.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tuesday Night Ballers

Our Tuesday night riding group has expanded. Take a WILD guess who the slow one in this photo is. Not pictured due to photography duties is Crazy Rower #2.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Yep it's Friday.

We watched the hour long Office last night. It was ggrreeaaaat.

That's what she said.*


Last night I was working the front desk at my after school club also known as my volunteering job which occurs directly after my 9 hour work day when one of the nurses starting explaining how to answer the phone to me.

I listened, nodded my head in accordance and tucked away the 'hit the hold button' bit of information away in my noggin.

Shortly there after, I started chatting with said nurse, and I mentioned that I work as an engineer and but that I am attempting to jump off a cliff into a new career path.

She stopped what she was doing and said, "Oh wow, you're an engineer? I just assumed you were stupid and I would need to explain how to use the phone."

I didn't bother to explain to her that engineers are deathly afraid of communicating in a verbal fashion. And I am not sure what that assumption of stupidity means... I prefer slow.

That's what she said.


This weekend we are planning a little canyoneering trip to the Salome Jug on Sunday to involve water, waterfalls, rappelling and hiking. I am uber-excited. I love falling water like a fat kid loves cake.

That's what she said.

* If you don't watch the Office, you won't get this reference and your life has less meaning than mine. Go to and check it out pronto.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Coolest Observation

So yesterday I worked a half day, did some studying, ate, slept, rode my bike, oh yeah and one last thing: observed a real live ACL surgery from a distance of spitting over the surgeon's shoulder.

Thats right, I got to sit in and observe a complete ACL and meniscus surgery, by none other than my exact surgeon, anesthesiologist and physician assistant. There is nothing like getting to see what they did to you first hand. Nothing. It was beyond cool in every way imaginable.

I am glad I was completely scrubbed up with a face mask on because I am sure my mouth was wide open in shock the entire time. Seriously. It was such an amazing experience that I can not really begin to describe how I felt seeing it unfolding right in front of me. My knee throbbed in sympathy pain, but I couldn't look away, not for a moment.

Warning...gore starts here...
Everything, from the blood dripping onto the floor to actually seeing a drill go into the leg bones was surreal. And FYI, they are not gentle with your leg at all. They jerk it this way and that which just reaffirms my opinion that you should go into the surgery with as much mobility as possible. I kept trying to picture that knee on the table being mine and it was weird. The face is covered, all you see is this one leg with numerous tools sticking out of it and it is so easy to remove the person attached to the leg and assume it is just a leg. But the whole time I was just thinking, make sure you fix it right, so they don't have to do this again.

I can truly say I understand now what happens in an ACL surgery, at least in the type that my doctor performs. I understand exactly what the tendon looks like they insert into your knee and how tough it is (unlike the fragile as a piece of spaghetti theory I had always heard). I also understand how hard it is to tear in the first place (at least theoretically). I feel pretty confident about the procedure and about how good my surgeon's technique is. It would be really hard to stretch or pull out the ACL out with his crossbar technique. Oh and just as I suspected, my doc cranked some mean club rap while he operated. That is how he rolls. He really is a t-o-o-l. Hahahahahaha.

Anyway, my PA hooked me up with the job shadow and seriously, her job is awesome. It just reaffirms my desire to make this my future. Onward I say. If any ACL veterans out there have any specific questions about the process, just ask. I will make something up for sure that sounds right.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy Blogiversary To ME!

I just realized two things right now.

One, this blog is now over a year old (started last May 7th, 2007). Wow. Time flies when you are having fun.

And two, one year ago from this past weekend was my first real trail ride on a bike where I learned all sorts of fun biking things like how to endo over your handlebars and how to hike a bike.

Does this mean I have to quit with the excuses of sucking and stop calling myself a beginner? Yes. It most definitely does. Consider it done.

In other biking news, I am now the proud owner of a $25 (such a negotiator I am) lime green Huffy Finalist classic road bike. I am pretty sure that Austin Powers may have ridden this bike in 1969 to stay in shape for his spy duties. Or at least someone in 1969 did something with this bike. The gearing is for sure an antique, but I think it is smoking and after a little lube and some adjusting, we had ourselves a nice little ride.

I think I will call this bike, the Green Gadget. Do all road bikes make you feel like you have a bad case of scoliosis? Also, have a gander at our amazing epoxied floor.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Don't Mess With My Bike Godfather

Rappelling: Easier than climbing down.*

I dreamed last night that some Italian mobsters stole my bike and tried to strip it for parts. I uncovered it in a warehouse, stole it back and then had a showdown with the mob boss where I declared that he would have to come through me if he wanted my bike back. No one puts Whitey Wrecker in the corner, no one.

True story.

Speaking of bikes, so I want to buy another bike. Stop glaring at me honey, this one will be cheap. I want to get a really cheap road bike so I can actually commute without the impulse to take the short cut through that dirt field and over that small fence. Plus then I could start racing slow cars and overweight lycra clad men wearing riding $5000 bikes. I am pretty sure you aren't sponsored by Specialized are you Mr. Decked Out From Head To Toe.

I found one on Craig's List for $30 and it is a lovely shade of green. How could I go wrong?

*Warning: Pic coloring modifications have occurred. This is typically done using Microsoft Picture Editor and playing with tinting and contrast settings. I do this a lot due to my entry level photography skills and equiptment. Don't hate, filters are fun.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Climbing Camelback in Another Way

Camelback Mountain is good for more than just a killer hike. Rock climbing and rappelling are a great way to waste some time on Sunday afternoon with friends. You can't tell in this pic, but I am definitely wearing my brace mom. So stop worrying and PS, Happy Mother's Day and I love you!

Friday, May 9, 2008

74% of You Will Agree

Fridayfridayfridayfridayfri.d..a...y....oh hello. I was lost in a daydream and it did not involve being here.

Did you know that 93% of all corporate Americans surf the internet at work? The other 7% are pissed because their company blocked it. And that 82% wish they could quit?

Okay, now I might have made up these numbers this time, but who would argue? Like the kid that cried wolf, Tom thinks I make up numbers quite a bit...and he may be right but sometimes I know them for real and he never believes me anymore. Besides, most of the numbers I quote are based on true unadulterated facts that I learned from copious amounts of research. Promise. Dilbert agrees.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Need Ice Cream...

It is midnight and I should just go to bed instead, but I just keep thinking about the ice cream sandwiches occupying the freezer and I feel a little hungry and I want want want one. The salad and Triscuit meal that I consumed for dinner due to lack of food in the house just isn't cutting it. Eating ice cream layered between delicious chocolate cookies definitely isn't part of my "I should eat better" diet though. But I have worked out the last five days and I need the sustenance right? But then again, I did eat some cookies at work today so I have already had my mess up for the day. Hmmm, what to do.

Ah, who am I kidding. If there is one thing that my husband and I are not known for, it is will power. Brownies are his kryptonite and ice cream or salty chips are my weakness.

I am eating the ice cream sandwich and calories be damned.

[EDIT: It was delicious.]

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Papago is for Tuesdays

Sunset Biking at Papago Park, Tempe

It is always a good idea on your second ever mountain biking attempt 2.5 months following a major knee surgery to go riding with two people who are really fit and have been racing major recently. Then you get a true measurement for just how out of shape you are when they kick your ass up steep loose dirt hills.

Last night I met up with Crazy Rower #2 and Jacko for some inner city mountain biking. Jacko just got back from the Sea Otter Classic and CR #2 just finished the Whiskey 50 at Prescott so they are both racing fit and ride quite a bit. We hit up Papago Park in Tempe is a great ride for both beginners and those looking for a really tough climbing workout. There are easy trails with fun loopies and then there are big piles of loose dirt hills with something resembling a trail snaking straight up the side that are hard work in granny gear to get to the top without spinning out. I told them to take it easy on me, so they took me to that part, because they are nice like that.

It felt so good out there and the weather was beautiful (temps in the 70s) as we rode with the setting sun. I appreciate the last of these cooler nights before the real heat hits and temps won't be below 100 until 2 am. I once again had my heart rate spike to ridiculous heights way before my legs began to feel tired, but that is to be expected when riding up steep grades on loose dirt.

Overall, it was the best way to spend a Tuesday night that I even know about...LOL.* Thanks friends for the re-initiation into mtbing and for taking me on that trail that dead ended so we had to ride straight down the side of a mountain off trail skirting cactus and large rocks to hook back up to a real trail. That was fun.

*Inside joke, sorry you aren't part of it.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Large Cactus

Really Old Large Cactus in Front of My Friend's New House

I didn't get out of town to any water holes this weekend. My friends did and I am jealous with a capitol J that they went backpacking without me...but I know that I am making these sacrifices to achieve a goal I really really want so it is worth it. Plus I got to do something that was really very cool in itself: volunteer at the Special Olympics. I spent 10 hours working at the AZSO and it really was a pretty moving experience. There is is joy that pervades the atmosphere there that is much more rare in more serious competitive events. Loud cheers of excitement errupt after every run and after every throw no matter how great or small the distance from competitors and fans alike.

Sunday, I forced myself to study for the GRE. Ummm, how is it possible that I forgot so much math so quick? It is "high school level" math so maybe that is problem. I took no less than 9 calculus and above math classes in college, but I guess I don't remember how to reduce fractions or other simple geometry. Apparently, I need to study a little bit. Boohoo.

My last bit of weekend excitement also brought another deficiency of mine to light. I am really out of cardio shape, at least from a mountain biking perspective. I attempted my first real trail ride on Sunday on my old faithful trail, the desert classic at South Mountain and it was tough to say the least. I am not surprised, as I have always found that road biking and elliptical is great for endurance, but does not spike the HR to a high cardio level and it has been about 2.5 months since I last mountain biked.

I know how fast I usually ride and I know how tired I am usually am, and I gotta say, the usual was unusually exhausting. I did about 10 miles and granted it was 5:00 pm and the temperature was probably still well over 90 degrees, but I had to stop several times just to gasp for breath while trying not to dry heave. At the beginning of the summer, I always force feed myself a lot of heat, just to get accustomed to it, so I was successful in that. I will say however, that I did feel pretty strong, leg strength wise. I did not have any trouble making it up any of the steep inclines and really hit the lines well for me. The knee was a non factor and that is all I can ask for at this stage in the rehab. Better that my lungs and heart feel like they are going to explode than my knee.

So I need to start getting back on trails now and work on my cardio/heat management. I of course have not been given any sort of approval for these activities, but has that ever stopped me before? It was time.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Bada Boom.

I have concluded the Anatomy & Physiology portion of this semester...HALLA!#%!

Sleep is going to be soo sweet. Next up, the GRE on May 24 but really who studies for those lil old standardized tests anyway.

Later gaters. This cat is going to enjoy a margarita in honor of the fake American holiday known as da Cinco.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Struggling Against the Sun

Taken on Camelback Mt, April 2008

Temps are rising now with many days over 90 degrees. The wildflowers have died but this little cactus blooms remains, fighting the good fight. That straw-like substance used to be beautiful grass, but alas, is completely dried up now. Unfortunately after a wet winter with a lot of green follows a lot of dead underbrush. Can anyway foresee ...sizzle...? Fires are natural occurrences, but it doesn't change the danger and the need to manage them. Here's to hoping we get enough rain this summer to lessen fire danger and keep the air clean.