Monday, January 10, 2011

Enough is Enough.... Let's look at some Art

Enough is enough. Some of you may have liked it, but I could no longer stand to see picture of a volleyball chicks ass in my face when I opened my own blog so it was time to replace it with something else.

And, yes, I chose that picture purely for shock value. But now it shocks me, so I'm over it.

What you are looking at is the artwork hanging in my kitchen over my back door. I kinda like it. It came from a place called Earth Studio in Moab, Utah. Yes, Moab. Home of mountain biking utopia. I have never been there but there is this little thing called the internet. It's kinda addictive. You can search and find out anything you want to know and buy anything you want to buy.

Damn internet.

I guess the other thing I could update you on is the situation with my calves which I first reported on here. After a visit to the Sports Medicine clinic, X-rays of both my shins, and about 6 tubes of blood work -- which, by my recollection, is more tubes than I would typically draw on any ICU patient I ever looked after when I worked in ICU once upon a time -- I decided to try the one and only calf repair treatment I have never tried over the course of 2 years since this problems started.

I stopped running. For 3 weeks.

And then the coach asked me to try. So the day I had to go back to the clinic for the follow-up I hopped on the treadmill and waited for that typical 5 minute onset of stumpy legs. Five minutes came and went .... and then 10 and ....   then 15.  Nothing. I stopped at 15 minutes. There is no better cure for any problem than making an appointment with the doctor.

But maybe stopping running is all I needed to do. I'd never taken any time off before. I just pushed through the pain.

So I am going to start running again and build slowly like I just got off the couch from doing nothing for 10 years.

And once radiology took an expert look at my x-rays they did identify what was likely also an old stress fracture on my left shin. Go figure. I can't tell you when that would have been. I can vaguely remember some shin pain from about 5 years ago but I likely just bought new shoes and it went away. The pain I remember very much predates my crazy exercise addiction days. It also pre-dates my half marathon training days too.

And my blood work showed nothing abnormal except for elevated white blood cells which can be explained away by the fact that the day I had it drawn was also Day one of the flu from hell which made me feel like Death through most of the week before Christmas. First year in MANY..... MANY.... that I have not got a flu shot and I got the flu. Let this be a lesson to me. Karma.

So there you have it. And thanks for checking me out again. At least I no longer have to check out the bikini clad butt when I open my blog. If you miss her, just scroll a little further.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Butt Cleavage, Celebratory Beer, and a Touch of Academic Geekism

The secret signal is..... ??
I have to teach a new course starting in a couple of days. This is a course I picked up to help fund my expensive "biking habit." It's on women and health. And while I'm excited to do it, I'm terrified too. What exactly qualifies me to teach this course when the person who taught it before me is a world renowned expert on women and sexuality in cancer recovery? I'm just the schlumpy college instructor who happens to be a woman and has published one article associated with the subject. That article is the second thing that pops up in google when you type in my full name and the word "nursing." (Or, at least, today it did.)

If you happened to have imitated that google search you'll find, yes, I have an academic life. This explains why I frequently can flip into academic geek mode. I do it anywhere, including in the middle of a bike shop, as I did the other night when I stood around in my favourite bike shop (you know which) with my favourite bike boys and chatted about exercise addiction. This happened about 2 minutes after I brought them beer as a post Christmas and New Years "Thanks" and cracked jokes about girly drinks and whipping cream. So I can flip that switch into academic nerd pretty quickly, anywhere, with anyone, under any circumstances.

Live with it.

Exercise addiction in endurance athletes, if I may digress for a moment, is what I figure, once I get my ASS in gear -- or when someone pays for it, whichever comes first -- I will eventually do a PhD about. We talked about the depression that results when you stop exercising, even for a few days. The other part of the conversation was about that fine line you hover around knowing that you need to exercise to still be upright when you are 80 or 90 and the damage you cause to your body when you don't  [CAN'T] stop when you are injured.

Anyway, I geek out quite frequently in my blog too so if you don't like it, I suggest you stop reading right now because it's gonna get worse. But I'm drinking wine as I type tonight so, that might help a bit.

I also flipped into academic geek mode pretty easily here in the comments on this tongue-in-cheek blog entry. My new course has a pre-established assignment where they have to find an advertisement that focuses on something related to women's health (tampon, birth control, diet pills and plastic surgery ads are likely what I'll see a lot of) and the first advertisement that popped into my mind to use as an example was the one my friend the Cyclechick shared with us a couple months back.  Graciously she has allowed me to use that blog entry in my class as a fine example of how my students should be thinking when they look for their own ads.

Achhk. .... I made my point in the comments about how disgusting those ads are, you can go to the link and read them there. If you care.

Or even in nursing itself. This predates me, but nurses used to wear little white caps and white pressed uniforms and clean pantyhose and said things like "yes Doctor" while bowing and averting their eyes. Walk into a hospital today and see if you can tell the difference between the doctor or the nurse. Better yet, can you tell the difference between the nurse and the housekeeper?  Good luck.

Of course, I suggest, neither is a good image. So nurses still aren't getting it right.

But I could probably walk into my first class on Tuesday and spend the entire class ranting about the invisibility of women in sport. Yeah we gotta sex 'em up to get anyone who watches sport (meaning men) to pay attention.  Best example? Beach Volleyball. Show some cute ass and, still, no one notices we have some pretty fantastic female athletes out there, but some great butt crack goes on permanent record in our brains.

Go to google. Type in "beach volleyball images."  Ignore gender ......  or don't.... type in "men's beach volleyball" it is still 90% women in those pics.

You can't tell me that dressing like this helps their play when.......

.......when the men get to dress like this. 

And of course, heaven forbid women celebrate when we succeed. How un-female of us.

But you get that this is how women survive? We find a way to behave a little like men so we can at least feel we are on the same level. And then we get told we are not allowed to behave that way, because obviously, we don't do it right.

And if we can't feel like we are on the same level or get the same attention then let's take some clothes off and play on their sexual fantasies.

And I won't go any further than that. But I do have to THINK about these things in order to teach this course.

And feminism isn't about bra burning and man hating. I love men. I love them a little too much. I've done every naive, desperate, stupid, cliche thing in the book to get them to notice me.

But I do have to figure out a way to get a group of about 40 women to not automatically want to think of menopause as a disease -- the way the medical model does.

Tougher yet, I've gotta get their instructor to think that way as well.

Anyways. In other thoughts, I've considered quitting the whole blog thing. I'm writing but I'm not doing productive writing and I bet, if I printed out all the blogs I've done in the last year, that the page numbers would total greater than both my novels put together. And that excludes the pictures.

As well, it's January. I struggle enough to get through January without trying to find ways to be entertaining or academic or inspirational. Today I don't feel like being seen and would like to dig a huge hole and just crawl into it and stay there till spring. Just like the bears. I actually can't believe I'm bothering to write this at all.

But, as I've said, writing sustains me. And, believe it or not, this post was actually inspired by a Facebook friend who posts a lot of items related to the horrible abusive treatment that women face in war-torn Taliban ruled Afghanistan......... so we've got it pretty good.

But tomorrow is another day. And this women's course is going to consume me. So maybe you'll see me and maybe I'll take a break.

Time will tell.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I'm Only Really Happy When I'm Writing ......

A friend forwarded this article to me and it is so bloody good, I wish I had written it. It pretty much sums up (in a humorous way) exactly what is wrong with my writing life right now and probably explains to some degree why I'm not likely ever to become rich from writing.

Yesterday brought to the forefront of my mind the thought of -- not resolutions -- but goals for 2011. I'm going to write a post about that at some point in the future, but not today. I'm not ready.

It is a big year for me. I'm turning 40. I'm training harder than ever. I have a big biking event I signed up for that I've told a few friends (and the coach) about but haven't revealed to everyone else.

Soon. Soon. I'll write about it as soon as reality hits for me.

I would LOVE to make one of my goals for 2011 to write SOMETHING (short or long) that might be publishable, but the truth of the matter is that I don't at the moment feel that my heart or my mind, and for that matter, my desire, is in a place required to do that.

And frankly, I like these little short efforts I spew out in this blog. I especially like these little spontaneous ones that I spew out quickly because they come to me in a flash of inspiration.

Anyways, the article I linked says it far better than I ever could have dreamed. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The First Ride

It is a Frozen Wasteland this place we live in
I made a vow to myself at the end of the regular ride season that I was going to get on my bike outside at least once a week this winter.

That hasn't happened.  It is not ideal weather for skate skiing so the Training Plan said "60 minutes aerobic activity of choice" today so what better day than this New Year's Day to go for a snow ride. I have this little thing called Ice Donkey that I agreed to participate in after a few beer at an HHH Christmas party. Well the sign up has officially happened now and I'm honoured that my compatriots felt I was worthy of being asked to participate and I think it be good that I keep my winter riding legs in shape so that the the event doesn't feel like a total B-itch.

So I dressed appropriately (over dressed actually) and headed out into the -16 weather with 40km per hour NW winds which made it -28 with windchill. I rode from my house to THE park which is about 9 miles round trip, I think, if I recall from running it. Here are some of the things I saw along the way.

I look like I am about to head out and rob a bank. Orange jacket is a little conspicuous though.
It was the maiden voyage of the Oakley's.

One of the goals on the agenda was to check the one challenging part of my commuting route. It is a pretty low traffic route but there is one piece of it that is generally difficult to pass through in the winter. Last spring this section could have been described as sketchy at best. Doesn't look so bad this year. But I'm not sure if this is because they've ploughed it once or twice or if it is just my newly discovered bike handling skills that have altered my definition of "too difficult" to ride. This looks totally ridable now.

Locals, you know where I'm talking about right? (If you don't, the next pictures will serve as a further clue.) Does this path look better than normal this year?

I don't know what it is, but I actually find the graffiti fascinating and somewhat beautiful.

Who's the guy whose face is imprinted here?
No River Trail this far this year. I think last year it came up to this bridge.

It is like a subversive culture.

I hit the park next. It was against the wind the whole way there. Other than the fogging of the sunglasses it was fine though. I was sweating. I ended up in the formal gardens first. Just earlier this morning people ran scantily clad in minimalist clothing there. Always a good way to start the year. I've done it in the past. I opted to sleep in for this years Frozen Nipple. That last 200m would have been freaking frigid.

Mountain bike was bike of choice today. And NO I have not yet removed the pannier racks from the Golden Triangle. This is procrastination at its best. It requires I get out a screw driver.
Then I headed over to check out the the duck pond. Too cold for skating today I guess.

The future outcome of all the construction going on there. 
And then I headed home for a nice wind-assisted return trip. These gloves are awesome by the way. My hands were sweaty the whole ride.

Na-noo, Na-noo (Yeah, I just dated myself didn't I?)
Random thought: Does anyone actually obey these signs??
I took the bike path on the way home. I love trees. Something so peaceful about riding through trees.
Riding INTO trees, well that's another issue all together.

Got to check out up and close the skating rink they built in the park out the front of my house. 

So, there you go. I'm officially a "HARD" woman. Before today that was questionable.