Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I'm becoming rigid. Mostly with schedules, but lately it seems like I need to have things planned in advance and if the plan falls through I'm not happy. ________ needs to be done on ______day, because that's how it's done.

For example, James and I go on bike rides on Saturday mornings. Last Saturday was cloudy. No road bike ride. Sunday morning rolls around and we consider a bike ride, but it's too overcast and cold. James suggests we go later. But we can't. Because we don't go on bike rides on Sunday afternoons. I've already showered, and I'll have to shower after the bike ride, and I can't shower twice. And if we go on a bike ride Sunday instead of Saturday, it throws off my entire weekly routine. Because I go Saturday, Monday, Wednesday. So if it's change to Sunday, then what? Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday? That's madness. This is how chaos starts. This type of chaos ruins lives. I need organization. I need routine. I am not flexible. I'm slightly neurotic.

Somehow I swallowed my panic, and ended up riding 17 miles on Sunday afternoon. And logged my fastest average speed to date. Still. The world almost exploded.

Everyone at the university knows I eat breakfast at 8 o'clock and move my bowels at 8:20. ~Sheldon, The Big Bang Theory

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday Biking

Rewind to last weekend. On Friday night, James suggested we head out for a bike ride Saturday morning. Groan. James is in great biking shape and every time I go with him I'm extremely miserable and can barely keep up. Then I blame my misery on him, which I think is well deserved. But I said I'd go. To be all nice, and wifey, and stuff.

Saturday, James was super tired, and ended up going back to bed mid-morning. I did a mini dance of excitement while tiptoeing around the apartment in a ridiculous effort not to wake him, thinking that by the time he woke up, it would be far too late (and hot) for a pleasant bike ride. I'd escaped the torture, right? Wrong. When he woke up he insisted it was a cool day and the perfect time for a bike ride.

The debate began. I insisted I would only go on a bike ride if it was less than an hour. He insisted the chosen route would definitely be completed in under an hour, probably around 45 minutes. I re-questioned, as I know his judgement of what constitutes "a fun, easy bike ride" is skewed. So we finally settle and I dig out my rarely worn and probably dusty biking clothes. I am already grumpy by this point, and to top it off I'm wearing padded spandex shorts. And James is insisting I don't need to wear underwear with them. I shouldn't wear underwear with them. I'd be more comfortable if I didn't wear underwear with them. I avoided the choice words running through my head and silently, defiantly, put underwear under my ridiculously-tight-and-padded-to-add-inches-to-my-ass shorts, thinking James could have a say in my underwear situation when he has a uterus and a period.

Got out the door and 10 minutes into the bike ride when I started to hate James. Really hate him. Because this "easy" bike ride is really hard, and when is the 20 minute hill from hell going to end? When he cheerily asked how I was doing, I didn't hesitate to express my gratitude for being forced to endure this god-forsaken ride. If I am going to suffer, so is he. He married me, it's only fair. The difficulty of the hell-hill was exasterbated by 1) my already bad attitude 2) my clumsiness which makes getting my water bottle out and drinking while riding impossible 3) the ridiculous amount of scar tissue in my right leg which leaves my calf useless in the situation. So I dreamed of a downward sloping road, vicodin to ease my post surgical pain, and ending James, and on we went.

James, being the polite rider he is, frequently points out debris on our path, so I can avoid it. This is a nice gesture, but he should realize I am too busy watching his rear tire and the road to concentrate on anything else besides debris. Mountains, flowers, fields, beauty, nature, whatever else- I don't see it. I see the road.

We finally stopped at a lake where billions of Boulderites have their dogs playing on a beautiful Saturday morning. I immediately decide that in my next life I'll have a charming British accent like the mom near us, who is instructing her daughter to be careful with the ball-launcher, and to look behind her so that she doesn't "bonk anyone on the nose". I also really wanted a dog, until I saw all the mud and poop and smelled wet dog.

In the end, I made it through the "guaranteed to be less than an hour but was actually a solid hour and a half" ride in one piece. I did end up with several "geek tracks" on my legs from the chain, probably because I am a geek and don't know how to ride a bike very well. And I did want to beat James with a big stick when we went up a huge hill and he stood up on his pedals, exclaiming it was definitely a hill you'd want to stand up on. (I can't stand up on the pedals right now, not allowed yet after the foot surgery).

So I agreed to go again today. This time I saw a few flowers and the mountains, I drank my water without stopping, and ended free of geek tracks. Oh, and at no point during the ride did I hate James. This is progress. Good day.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

On a Saturday

Yesterday, James and I took a nice motorcycle ride up to Nederland, to have lunch. Nederland is outside of Boulder, on the way to our ski resort (El Dora) and most famous for their Frozen Dead Guy Days.
On the way up the canyon, I saw:
  • Lots of beautiful wildflowers
  • Boulder Creek (which made me realize how bad I want to go fishing, or fish as a hobby)
  • Tons of bikers, with gastrocs that could have rivaled Lance's
  • A girl on a scooter with shorty short pink shorts
  • Lots of old cars
  • A hubcap hanging from a rope on a tree (in Ethiopia, a cup on a stick signifies that you can buy drinks at that location, even if it's just someone's house. I wonder what a hubcap means...maybe you can buy spare car parts)
  • Lunch, which was an amazing turkey club complete with bacon and "fries" which were more like breakfast potatoes but were yummy

We both had a lot of fun but the ride up there took longer than we anticipated (almost an hour and a half versus 45 minutes) so our asses were sore by the time we reached our destination and we were ready to move, and eat.

Anyway, fun day.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mom's Visit

Last week, my mom drove from Montana for a weekend visit. She claimed it was the typical "how are you, miss you, let's do fun stuff together" trip, but I know it was to inspect my foot and see how I was healing so she could report back to Dad and they could increase or decrease the current level of worrying from afar as needed. I apparently did not pass the test because the parents have determined that I should be healing faster. Meh.

In the meantime, Mom and I had a blast. Mom managed to reach our apartment on schedule Wednesday evening without getting lost as usual. I immediately took her out for potato-stuffed burritos followed by Coldstone ice cream. When we couldn't possibly eat anymore, we pumped up her air mattress for her first night in the living room, as our apartment is guest room free.
The next morning we visited the Denver Botanic Gardens. Eventually. First we had to drive around repeatedly in circles of one way streets as there was construction at the entrance of the gardens and the location of the temporary parking lot wasn't apparent. After attempted parallel parking which lead to a great deal of swearing, I found an end spot in a neighborhood where we wouldn't have to walk too far to the entrance. The garden entrance was elusive, as even on foot we couldn't tell where to actually get in. Finally figured it out and it was beautiful. It's been a rainy year in Colorado and we got some stunning shots of the gardens. Of course, the pictures don't reveal the fact that we spent most of our tour on the perimeter of the gardens (in the shade) and I hobbled along at a slow pace while Mom attempted to name all the flowers, even though most of them were properly labeled. Fresh lemonade partway through the gardens helped cool us down and all in all it was a great trip.

Of course Mom needed to see the grad school where little brother Sam will be in August. Unfortunately, Garmin had an error requiring a download and without my GPS I was lost in the tangle of downtown Denver. Denver overall is laid out in a very predictable North-South, East-West pattern, except for downtown which is a mess of streets, I'm told similiar to the layout of Paris. I showed Mom most of downtown Denver, not including the grad school, but hey, she got the idea. I headed North, where I know my way around and we ended up shopping for the rest of the afternoon.

The remainder of the trip included Tapas and wine, margaritas on the patio, a chick flick, manis and a pedi for Mom, a trip to James' parents house for an amazing dinner, the farmer's market, coffee, and lots of walking. In the end I got a small bout of the flu but overall a fun trip filled with all the girly stuff I love (well, every once in awhile).

Sunday, June 7, 2009

View from the Couch

After surgery last Thursday and a resulting cast/dressing complete with crutches and a touch down weightbearing status, I've had plenty of time to enjoy the view from the couch. After 10 days, it's not so enjoyable. Especially since it's my right foot, which renders driving impossible.

The bonus is I'm now completely caught up on ridiculous daytime television, partially caught up on ridiculous summer nightime television, and up-to-date on the current celeb gossip. If you need to know anything about the status of John and Kate's relationship, or are curious about what's going on with Spencer and Heidi, just ask.

The downside is I'm going crazy cooped up with not much to do. James has been great about taking me out, and is incessantly patient as I hobble along, taking twice as long as it would normally take me to get anywhere. Yesterday, after I tackled the long trek down 2 flights of stairs from our 3rd floor condo, I ran into a neighbor lady (who I don't know). She looked at me and said, "Oooooohhhh, ouch, ooooowwwww, ahhhhhh, ooooooowwwww, what happened?" James said she was trying to be nice but I felt like pointing out to her that the only pain I was feeling was the numerous stairs being a pain in the ass to get down.

I'm also a bad patient and have started hobbling around sans crutches. Not painful, but this dressing isn't made for walkin'.

Luckily, my appointment with the surgeon is tomorrow, hopefully I can be outta this and into a walking boot (even though it still doesn't sound good, it's a sunny prospect compared to my current situation). And I have 3 patients scheduled tomorrow after my appointment, meaning I'm driving no matter what the doc says. Hopefully by this time next week, I'll know nothing about Heidi and Spencer, or John and Kate.

(Yes, I do realize I have ridiculously long toes)

Friday, May 29, 2009

My Dad....

My dad was in the hospital last week, for repercussions of his past (8 years ago? I lost track) surgery to take out his bladder. When I was in high school, my dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer, out of the blue as he was 45 at the time and hadn't smoked or done any of the other things that predispose you to this type of cancer.

Anyway, after an unsuccessful bout of chemo (they put tuberculosis into his bladder, to make it slough off the inner layer) the doctors turned to surgery. Dad's surgeon told us that Dad had the most cancer he's ever seen in the bladder, but thankfully it was fairly localized to that place. He now has a new bladder, made from a piece of his intestine flipped inside out (this is pretty slick now, but at first Dad would roll around on the floor in pain as the "bladder" was still trying to act as an intestine, peristalsis ensued).

As a family, we all feel very blessed that his surgery came out well and he is now relatively healthy. We continue to deal with repercussions of the surgery; anywhere they reconnected the bladder, intestine, and kidney is suseptible to scar tissue that blocks passage. It's not unusual for Dad to have tubes coming out of his back, draining his kidney. It's also not unusual for him to overdo things and end up with a hernia as the mesentery in the stomach has been removed and replaced with mesh (see below).

This time Dad went into the hospital with flu-like symptoms, the intestine was blocked where it had been re-attached and no food or fluids were getting absorbed. A NG tube (or whichever kind of tube can go both ways, I forget) was put in to try and pump the blockage through. It worked, but enter Dad and his Stubborn-ness.
On the second day, when he was told he could be released (yes, released, Dad thinks of it more as jail as he's been in the hospital so much), the nurse tried to take out the NG tube and got stuck, so Dad just reached up and yanked it the rest of the way out.....ouch. He then proceeded to take out his IV and go wait by the nurse's station while they frantically filled out the discharge paperwork.

I thought about all this and realized that, as Dad is 53, it's obviously stubborn behavior, typical of him. But on the other hand, as he gets older, this will probably be taken as dementia, or people will think he's senile. I guess my question is, where is the line drawn between the two? Is it a blurry border defined by society's views on the elderly?

The day after the "release" I called Mom to see how she was. She said she couldn't talk long because she had to "watch your father".
me: "watch him do what?"
mom: "well, he's supposed to be relaxing but so far he's planted the garden, moved the 200 pound tier from the fountain, and moved the two concrete plantars to the front porch" (Dad calls this the Martha Stuart Hernia Collection)
me: "wow. can't you get him to sit down?"
mom: "No. now he's decided he wants a sink in the garage, so he's cutting pipes and plumbing outside".

Ugh. My Dad is definitely living with my brother when he gets older.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Costa Rica Honeymoon

I'm too lazy to write about the honeymoon trip twice, but feel it does warrant some space in my blog, so here's my ridiculously long excerpt from a letter to my Grandma.
Obviously I am back from my Costa Rica excursion; it’s tough to get back into the swing of things! I was very spoiled for the entire week and spent much time lounging, walking, eating, and generally doing whatever I wanted! It’s hard to have a schedule and have to do work!

Thursday when we were slated to fly out, we were also due to get 12-14 inches of snowfall in Denver and Boulder. James heard this, and immediately called his dad to head out for a day of snowboarding. I dreaded the long drive down to Denver for work at the school. Thurs morn I looked out the window and sure enough, there were several inches of snow sprinkling the ground. Took a shower and prepared for my day while watching newscasters send alarming cries about the weather, the predicted snow, and the traffic. After checking the school's website I realized it was cancelled for the day! I was immediately excited as this would leave me with time to pack, clean, and generally get ready for the trip (our flight left technically Friday morning at 12:20am, to me this is more Thurs night).

My excitement soon wore off as I realized we really were getting tons of snow, at least a foot had piled up on the deck before noon with no sign of it stopping. Also, the road between Denver and Boulder was closed off and on throughout the day so I began my nervous routine of checking the weather website, the CDOT website which tells you which roads are closed, and the RTD website to see if the bus would run to the airport. While frantically typing away on the computer, I also left the news on to see what they said about flights leaving the airport. Since I had so much nervous excitement, I shoveled a path through the deep snow from our apartment to the parking lot, took me quite a long time. Ventured out in the car to mail my therapy notes as they were due soon and I don’t get paid unless I turn them in. I sloshed along the road, taking twice as long as it should have but I was in no hurry and went very cautiously. It was not amazingly slick, but pretty deep and slushy and I was cautious not to stop in any dips in the road for fear of getting stuck.
Eventually James made it back from snowboarding, the highway was re-opened, the bus resumed its route, and we flew out on time at 12:20am on Friday morning. This meant a poor night of attempted sleep on the plane, with a 3 hour drive ahead of us to our desired destination in Costa Rica. James was a trooper and easily made the trip, partly because both of us were excited to get to La Fortuna, which is an inland Costa Rica town that boasts of Volcano Arenal. The roads were not bad, just a little windy but paved, and similar to Montana roads in that they didn’t have much of a shoulder. Traffic rules are relaxed in Costa and it was not unusual to see a truck stopped in the middle of the road.

La Fortuna is where we did the ziplining; had a great time flying down the cables from platform to platform in the lush jungle setting. We met a nice guy named Andy, in his 60s, and ended up taking him in our rental car to swim in a waterfall close by. Our hotel in La Fortuna was also very nice, more remote and less resort-ish. The first night we went wandering outside to hear an animal in the bushes, got a light to discover some type of armadillo or anteater guy. Cool to see up close, and he was not a bit afraid of us, just continued his search for an insect dinner.
After a few days wandering around La Fortuna, hiking slightly closer to the volcano (one of the top 10 most active volcanoes in the world) and hearing an explosion, eating lots of good food, James and I trekked towards the coast, to Samara beach with plans of lounging and surfing lessons for James.
We stayed at an amazing place in Samara, called Entre Dos Aguas, complete with a rock path, serene pool, beautiful landscaping, and hammocks in the shade. We wandered around and spent a morning at the beach but it was very hot. James took a surfing lesson, only to have the surf board come back and hit him in the face! When I saw poor James an hour later, his upper lip was still bleeding, but it was remedied with a trip to the pharmacia to buy a Neosporin-like substance and flesh colored tape to seal it up. James is an amazing cyclist and has very muscular legs, but he said his arms failed him during surfing. He is not a great swimmer, and the instructor kept telling James, “paddle, paddle, paddle faster!” James was thinking, “I WOULD paddle faster if I COULD, I am not intentionally going this slowly, this is as fast as it gets!” Despite a tentative start, James did well with surfing and was able to stand up on the board several times on his own.

The next morning we kayaked out to a small island and snorkeled, was so much fun! We saw lots of fish, my favorite were the bright electric blue ones. Our guide brought fresh pineapple and flung some of it up the hill towards the scattering iguanas. We also saw thousands of hermit crabs on the island.

After snorkeling, we got restless and headed down the coast to Manuel Antonio. Stopped at a hotel that our guidebook said was relaxing, but after an hour of trying to sleep without success due to close proximity to a major road and a nightclub, we headed downstairs to ask for a different room. The manager said there was no room that was any better, and that the music would be done at midnight or 1am. We did not like that, so opted out and drove down the road in pouring rain to a small but quiet and air-conditioned room; slept very well!

Manuel Antonio has a wildlife reserve that James and I thought would be interesting. From the minute we got near the beach, our car was crowded with people showing us where to park (in their lot, where it would cost us) and trying to sell us things. We were immediately unimpressed, but trekked to the park entrance, brushing off “guides” who would only charge $35 per person to show us around the reserve. We paid to enter the reserve and walked around, seeing 3 lizards and 5 animals that are Costa’s version of raccoons, a little redder in fur color with ringed tails that stick straight up. James and I were hot, tired, and frustrated with the lack of even the hair of a sloth anywhere in sight. We saw the 5 raccoon animals walking in a straight line probably 200 feet down into the jungle and wondered if they were on their own tour, thinking, “We are hot, tired, and I have paid all this money without seeing a trace of a human.” We walked back on the gravel road (seriously, we thought this would be more of a rugged nature hike) and waded through the vivacious sellers of random crap to catch of glimpse of the ocean. It was beautiful but at the time looked like the rest of the beaches we’d seen, so we paid a ridiculous amount of money for 2 cans of soda and got back in the car to seek refuge in Jaco, a slight backtrack that would leave us in closer proximity of the airport in preparation for our departure.

Jaco was slightly more developed than most places in Costa but the absence of people trying to sell us things automatically set us back to our previous good opinion of the country. We found a beautiful hotel on a hillside outside of town, run by a Canadian couple who knew everything about the area. The lady directed James and I to a nice restaurant for dinner and we headed out. The food was good, we were rested and happy. The next morning had a great breakfast at the hotel and the owner gave me some aloe for my sunburn, attained in La Fortuna when I was convinced that wandering around in a densely covered jungle did not warrant SPF 50- of course I was wrong.

Last stop in Costa Rica was back in San Jose, where we flew out. James and I heard from the Canadian couple that there was a nice place along the way for souvenirs and lunch, so we decided to make a pit stop. Unfortunately, the GPS machine routed us onto a very bumpy gravel road which soon intersected with a stream! James got excited because he had gotten us an SUV with four wheel drive for a reason, and now he was getting to use it to its full ability. We made it across the stream and to our destination, but I was a little nervous along the way.

We ended our adventure back in San Jose, where the airport is located. As our flight left Friday morning at 6:30am, James and I stayed Thursday night in a cute little villa close to the airport owned by an Italian family. We had some fabulous pizza and watched the geckos dart around the light fixtures, grabbing up tasty bugs. James was unconvinced that we really needed to be at the airport 2 hours prior to an international flight, so we arranged the airport shuttle for 5am, which put us at the airport at 5:15am because the driver was crazy! The airport was very busy but we paid our exit tax, got through the line and security and got directly into the line at the gate where our flight was boarding. I spent the flight reading Marley and Me and watching bad TV. After chowing down on Taco Bell at the Denver airport, boarding the bus, then spending 20 minutes searching for my car at the park ‘n ride lot, we were home at last! It’s been great to be back, but I do miss the slow rhythm of vacation.