Monday, March 30, 2009

Here's to Sarah

So my sister Sarah is getting married this weekend so I am off to Ohio in a couple of days for a much needed 10 day R&R in the motherland. I am super happy for Sarah, as her husband to be seems to be the perfect fit for her. Sarah was the sister closest in age to me (1.5 years older) and I can honestly say that she is definitely interwoven into the person I have become today.

We grew up in a rural farming community, and my parents farm house sat about a mile back from any road surrounded by corn fields and forests full of exploration fun. Sarah and I used to build forts made out of brier bushes and refrigerator boxes in the fields in which we would create little worlds usually consisting of "No Bossy Becca Allowed" clubs. Becca was my older sister ( 4 years older than me) who also had the elder sister bossiness trait. I remember the weekend that Sarah and I spent laboriously making a hiking trail in the woods by cutting through the underbrush with tree trimmers, only to have all the brier patches grow back by the next weekend. I remember the day we found and explored the unknown junk yard found deep deep in the woods and set up a little house with all the stuff we found and dragged out of it. I will never forget the day that we are convinced we found a dead dog corpse chained up to a pipe in the forbidden barn...course we didn't stick around to find out.

I spent almost every day all summer long outside exploring, and I have no doubt that this is part of why I feel such a drive towards getting outside still in my life.

As we got older, Sarah and I remained friends, even when she was sometimes too cool to hang out with her younger sister. We shared rooms as teens, and got into trouble together when she let me drive her car before I had my permit and I put it in the ditch. Sarah and I were on the track team together where I was supposed to hand off to her but we always seemed to screw it up. I remember when we had our first sip of beer together (shh) and snuck into our first OSU bar while visiting Becca. Finally, when we both ended up at Ohio State, we both learned to love the Buckeyes and hate Michigan together, culimating in a year when we lived together right before I left for Arizona.

Sarah is now an amazingly smart, centered, spiritual, and happy example of how to live your life in the correct way. I still learn from her. So here is to Sarah, wishing you the best possible life ahead of you. You have been a part of most of my life and I am so happy to be a part of you future life with Mike.

Also, I love my other two sister as well just so they don't feel bad even though this narrative isn't directed at them. PS: Becca is still bossy.

And because I am truly a giver, I now give you a piece of life in the early 90s on the farm. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Unsuccessfully Chasing Down Life.

So I am sure that you have noticed that I am not blogging as much as I previously did. I feel like this is as much of a reflection on some large changes in my life more than me just not wanting to blog.

Firstly, I have been busy with life. Work is no joke now that the cat is out of the bag and they know I am leaving. Micro-mangement anyone? They want me to get done everything planned for the year in the next 30 days. Hah. I think they don't realize that I don't give a shit what they want.

Secondly, this week is hectic because I have my organic chem midterm on Thursday, and I have put no effort in to studying up until this week. Hah. I think my prof doesn't realized taht I don't give a shit anymore. Just need a C.

Thirdly, I have had about 3 doctor appointments a week for the past 3 weeks for all the crap that my life is going through. Knee second opinions, physicals, multiple innoculations needed for school, titers needed to be obtained as proof of vacinnations when I was five, dentist appointments...all in order to get ready to quit my job, start school, and have really shitty insurance.

Fourthly, I am not blogging because I haven't done all that much cool in the past month. I have been babying my knee and pretending to like a social life versus an adventurous life. Vegas is fun but Vegas can't even compare to exploring a canyon or climbing a rock wall. So I have little desire to photograph Vegas, cause it is just not my bag baby.

Finally, in case you were wondering, firstly, secondly, and thirdly ARE in fact words in my world. Fourthly may be taking it just a bit too far.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Clipless has clips.

Lake at Papago Park in Tempe: home of the Tuesday night STP rides.

My left hand is a little sore right now, but that is okay. It is to be expected. You see, I keep tipping over while I ride my bike and catching myself with my hand. Why, you might ask?

Well I finally did it. Last weekend I graduated to clipless pedals on my bike which for those who are bike illiterate means they actually have clips which hold your shoe to the pedal. It is unintuitive, I know.

I was a big chicken in transitioning to clipless pedals because basically since I started riding I have been rehabbing various major ACL surgeries and I didn't want to wipe out clipped into a non symmetric aluminum object and somehow rip another ligament. I do have bad luck you see. Now that I have realized that my knee is just broken all the time, this danger seems less calamitous to my heart.

And surprisingly, the transition hasn't been that hard at all. Not that I haven't had my share of slow motion tipovers in front of numerous groups of people who then try not to laugh (most notablity those nice St. Patty's Day revelers at the bar I rode up to last night). But as a whole, the benefits of climbing in those things outweight any of the negatives. It is amazingly easier. Now I just need to figure out how to get into and out of the climbs in a more expeditious manner.

Anyway, my love of biking just keep increasing with each skill I acquire and each moment I capture while doing it. I truly do appreciate the ability that it gives me to go on a relatively pain free journey out of reality and into nature. You always appreciate something more when faced the the possibility of losing it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Snuggie: The Most Powerful Blanket In The World.


I am in a good mood today for no apparent reason. Tis almost Friday and tis beautiful out. Next week is spring break so that means no night classes and I am headed to Vegas next weekend to meet up with my old OSUWRFC rugby buddies and it is going to be the BOMB. I will have to strap it on because I have gotten quite soft and wimpy in my old age, going to bed at ridiculously early times on weekends and such.

So recently I got a box in the mail. It was addressed to both Tom and I and it arrived during our week of birthday magic & fun-ness celebration. Well let me say we tore into that large box with gusto, excited to see what some admirer had sent us. Much to my pleasure, out popped not one but two maroon snuggies with matching reading lights. After a little sleuthing, we tracked down the sender to none other than the great Chris Thomas of Chris Thomas Productions. We all had a good laugh and we discussed how those special deals you see on the television do seem very tempting. However when I saw that the great one, Mr. President of the Free World also wears a snuggie while conducting important phone business, I knew it was going to change my life.

And let me just say, IT HAS. It is a great invention for keeping toasty while blogging or surfing the web, or pretending to work hard on organic chemistry labs while secretly procrastinating while get the picture. Someday Tom and I will pose with our matching snuggies and I will grace you all with that vision of loveliness. In the meantime, give in to your late night television snuggie desires and get yourself this important tool in productivity.

PS. This message has been endorsed by the Barack Obama.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The first smattering of flowers.

Springtime In The Desert: Papago Park

This weekend was all about fun riding. No speed, no pressure, no pain. Just moseying along with friends with lots of stopping to enjoy the flowers. Springtime is coming to the desert.

Saturday I took an old friend who moved away but was back for a visit to McDowell Mountain Park. Flowers were beautiful and the weather was perfect. It was great to see her gain confidence as we rolled along the competitive track. She was a rock star for being mostly a beginner.

Sunday I took two beginner riding buddies Em and AB to Papago Park in Tempe to start riding. My buddy AB just is coming off ACL surgery (damn u rugby) and so she is following my footsteps of starting biking. She seemed to have a great time and I have to laugh at her antics. She did a stellar job but was mad at how weak her knee was. Welcome to the club AB. Welcome. May your luck be better than mine.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

ALERT: More knee junk, read at your own risk.

I heard back from my orthopedic surgeon's PA. She basically verified what I already knew which was that I have a large (16x19mm) cartilage defect on my medial femoral condoyle. This basically means that the area where my femur rests on my tibia is bone on bone for a large section. I can feel this because my inner right knee aches when I run, jump, etc. and swells first. See diagram below for illustration.

I plan to head in to talk to the doc on Monday, but he is recommending a knee scope and microfracture surgery. This is pretty much the only way to fix cartlage., there is no miracle cartilage injection...yet. Microfracture is where they drill holes in the bone in the affected defect area in hopes that your yellow marrow (which has the ability to regrow cells) will reform cartilage on top of the holes. The photo below shows the procedure.

I need to discuss with him what happens if I put it off for 5 years, because I don't have time right now. School starts in a couple of months and I don't want to be crutching to class, sitting for 8 hours at a time and studying while trying to go to rehab 5 days a week.

I just don't think I can do a third major knee surgery in 4 years... it is a lot.

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Mental Pain.

So my blogging is off. I am in a mental funk. Mostly because I have been forced take the past two weeks off from all exercise due to my shitty knee. It puts me in a bad mood because really I am addicted to the endorphins of exercise and I actually crave the fix.

I had a contrast MRI done on my knee about a week and a half ago. This is basically where they inject 25 CCs of dye into your knee to help get a better 3D shot. This amount of liquid, forced into my already swollen knee was not a pleasant experience. I could barely bend my knee after this procedure and walked with a limp.

And the results? Pretty depressing really. Mostly because there is nothing wrong with my knee that is easily fixable. I have major sections of cartilage that have fissured (disappeared) and one particular large area is causing major rubbing when I walk/run/hike etc. I haven't seen the doctor again yet, but I self diagnosed the MRI report (I know I know...what do I know...) and the diagnosis is most likely going to learn to live with it and change my activities or to undergo microfracture surgery. This is the Penny Hardaway surgery where they drill holes into your bone in order to stimulate cartilage growth. This type of surgery isn't an option right now as it requires over a year of rehab, possible 2 months on crutches and I don't have time with school starting just around the corner.

So where does that leave me?

Twenty eight years old with a bum and worthless knee.

I have done a lot of cool things with this bum knee. Every thing I have blogged about in almost two years has been with this bum knee. I refuse to stop living, I never back down until my body shuts me down. This is MY way of dealing with a narrowing tunnel of opportunity for the free and single no strings attached (aka babies) portion of my life.

And I know that it is possible that my choice to keep living and pushing through everything has actually worsened my knee to the point that it is currently at. But how do I know anything for sure? Things are never as easy as "if I would just take it easy then everything would get better". I would rather build up my memory bank of great times today than wait for the possibility of tomorrow. Take that for what it is, stupid but understandable.

Thanks for listening. Someday, I will get back to blogging about positive and exciting things. Someday.