Thursday, May 5, 2016

Joint Compound, John Kasich and My Glute Medius

It's official. My insistence on saying "yes" to everything has made me busy. Things that have happened in the last month:

1. I turned the sheet-rocked room pictured in my last blog into a massage room. It was a whirlwind of a weekend but somehow I managed to have it presentable in 3 days. Trophy was treated to the first massage.
The baseboard still isn't nailed into place and I already had to kill a mouse, but hey, it's presentable and it smells good.

2. In the process I learned that applying joint compound is fun. (Despite the fact that I don't seem to want it on my hands in this picture. And yes, I am applying it with a stir stick. I work with what I have.)
 3. I also learned that sanding that same compound down sucks. There were no smiling pictures from that evening.

4.Once I had the room ready, my business had its best month in over a year in that new space. I'll take that as a good sign. Apparently hearing rap music through the door isn't turning anyone off. Who knows, maybe the mixture of heavy beats from the gym and mellow massage music is working some kind of magic on people.

3. I went to my Congressional District meeting as a delegate and I didn't slap anyone. This was quite a challenge since the only acceptable outfit I owned was purple and Prince had just died. By the end of the day I needed a badge that read "NO I'M NOT WEARING PURPLE BECAUSE PRINCE DIED" because if I'd had to answer that question one more time, I would've just disrobed then and there to save myself the torture of hearing it again. I'm pretty sure the Kasich supporters would've had a heart attack had this happened since I was proudly wearing his sticker (on my purple shirt of course) in a room full of Cruz fans.

4. I scored another awesome part time job, which then overlapped with the one I already had during the busiest month of my business in a year. So, last Friday I didn't sit down (except on my bike to my office) from 6:45am until 6:30pm, at which point I sat down to work the new job for four hours. I'm just happy to find a part time job where I can actually sit. My legs are thanking me already.

5. Since my new office is in a gym, I decided to jump into some of the group workouts that take place. Let's just say this- my willingness to say "yes" is being put to the test, but so far, I've managed to avoid any "Oh hell no" responses when I'm asked to do things like glute bridge 1 1/2 times my body weight.

6. That said, I've discovered a new kind DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) which prefers to take up residence in my ass. As I put it yesterday, "Well, at least I know I have a glute medius."

Now I just need to make time to get a massage myself.....

Thursday, March 31, 2016

My Hobbit Feet

Yes, I am alive. I have forgotten to blog because, well, some days I don't sit down and it's hard to blog standing up. It might not be if I had a standing desk but I don't. So I blog on the couch.

Since our big snowmobile trip life has been quite exciting. We dog sat. Somehow I managed to turn a golden retriever into a vicious attack dog in three days. Not that Eddie wasn't able to charm her after she tried valiantly to keep him away from me when he came home dressed in bike clothes. (Bike clothes are apparently terrifying to dogs!)

I took the trophy to Red Squirrel's big 5-0 party. We had to pose for pics since he was the first winner of the trophy.
Somehow the trophy ended up in my nose.
What do you expect after a few drinks?

I don't have a picture because I figured busting out the phone for this moment would be weird, but I was elected a delegate for my area and I get to go the the Republican MN state convention. Yes, I realize they would never have elected me had they seen the above picture. What they don't know won't kill them.

I made Easter dessert and it didn't suck. Big E even said it was better than the first time I made it for Pop. (Sorry Pop, I'll have to give it another go for you.)

Somewhere in there I also moved out of my office and began getting my new one ready. I have three more days to make this into a massage room.

Anything is possible with a little drywall tape, joint compound and paint. Oh yes, and carpet. I will learn how to lay carpet in the oddest shaped room on the planet. I've always been geometry challenged so this should be exciting.

I also finally shaved my hobbit feet.
I know. Miracles do happen. You're welcome, Big E. Now that I have girlified my feet for you I expect nightly foot rubs.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Hot Tubs and Snowmobiles

You'd think at the age of 44 there wouldn't be that many new things for me to try. However, considering that I didn't grow up around a wide variety motorized vehicles and Big E is a lover of all things with wheels, I'm beginning to think the opportunities for me to try something new and fast are never-ending.

What started as a "fishing weekend" at the Grand Ely Lodge (which I won in a raffle) quickly turned into a snowmobile weekend when we learned that the ice houses had to be brought in due to slush. Believe it or not, even though I grew up in the great white north, I'd never actually driven a snowmobile so Big E jumped at the chance to borrow a buddy's sled and loan me his to scare the crap out of myself for a weekend.

After a slippery drive in what just might prove to be the last snow of the season, we arrived at our hot tub suite (courtesy of my winning ticket) late Friday afternoon.
I conquered my fear of driving on frozen lakes while simultaneously learning to drive a snowmobile in the dark with Big E on the back. Of course, I learned later that the sense of security I felt with him on the back was actually more like a false sense. According to him, had I missed a corner, there probably wasn't much he could've done. What can I say? Sometimes a false sense of security is all I need to push myself. Not that I really went all that fast in the dark.

We hit the trails again the next day, me trailing behind gradually gaining confidence as the day went on and I didn't crash into any trees...or buildings. I learned a few things in the process:

1- A snowmobile is not like a bike. You have to keep the gas on on the downhills or you'll stop. Duh.

2- I can go 60...but Big E can go 100.

3- I'm willing to hit a big bump at 35mph and catch air once by accident, but I will probably never do it on purpose.

4- Frozen lakes make me drive faster...because I really want to be off them and onto land.

Of course, I had a blast. How could I not love ripping around in the snow on a sunny day?

Of course, I had to remind Big E that since my first snowmobiling trip involved having a hot tub in my room, I now think this is what all snowmobiling will be like.

The bar for winter fun has been set...

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

My Big Fat Hillside Trophy

The wheels of my bikes have perhaps spent more hours at Hillside than any other trail. They have certainly experienced more types of racing there than anywhere else. Considering the number of firsts that have happened for me there- my first winter race, my first night race, my first 24 hour race, my first time trial, my first short track, my first enduro- I can confidently say that I have also probably faced more fear on that trail than I have in any other place on my bike.

Along the way there have been many uncomfortable moments- insecurity when I know I'll be lapped, terror at the prospect of riding downhill as fast as I can, nausea after unwisely downing nearly an entire pint of ice cream in the middle of a race, dehydration when bottles froze in the winter and when temps reached 90 in a 24 hour race. I've come in dead last there more than once, but it's also one of the places where I've been able to gut out some of my few wins, made possible by the fact that Rich, Jeremie, Sue, David and the crew always stayed committed to putting on races that reward scrappiness (also known as the persistence of those who don't have a lot of skill or speed) as much as they do speed. In other words- they've perfected the art of putting on races that, as the PIC put it last year, "make you question who you are." Personally, I think that's a good thing because, in the end, you end up somehow better or stronger or at least more self-aware-even if your ass is raw, your stomach hurts and your knees are bloody.

Every year, the above trophy goes to the person who has accrued the most points for the year at Hillside. You get to keep the trophy for the year, your name goes on the back but you have to return it the following year. We chicks have never won it. Even though we've gone from sometimes only having 1-2 of us at a race to once having 20+, there still simply weren't enough of us for anyone to rack up enough points to beat the guys and there was only one trophy. This year, since the men's winner was a repeat of last year, Rich decided to add a women's class. Apparently, yours truly gutted out enough laps on that trail to take it home.

Rumor has it I'm supposed to "share" it with the men's winner. However, I was also told that the original idea for this trophy was that whoever had it for the year was supposed to take it around and take pictures of it. That said, Mr. Colbert is going to have to chase me around a bit if he wants possession of it because I plan to tote that heavy-ass trophy all over the place and pose with it. As someone put it at dinner, "She no longer poses for pictures without the trophy."

Funny how some things come when you most need them. After a rough end to last year's racing, I'm now ready to find some new adventures so I can keep the spirit of this thing alive.....and take its picture in some really cool places. (Of course, Big E has already become my "trophy sherpa" since I can barely lift the thing myself.)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Let's Get Together

I can never resist the "Staff Recommendations" near the library entrance.  Even if I go with another book in mind, I almost always end up with a staff recommendation too. It's usually non-fiction. I'm a non-fiction kind of girl.  Occasionally I like some good fiction, but mostly, I really like to read about the world- what's happened in it, how people feel about it, how we can make it better....

For some reason, my love of reading about the world often leads me to choose books about serial killers but that's probably another blog post entirely. Or something I should see a shrink about.

Anyway- today I couldn't resist this book.  I went to the library right after teaching a particularly difficult class, the kind that left me wondering how in the world our current 10 year olds are ever going to function in the world as grown ups. Of course the obvious answer to that question probably has something to do with the fact that by the time they are grown ups, the world will be very different. Perhaps by then they will function in it much better than I will because it will be a world very much influenced by them.

To be frank, that scares the hell out of me.

Why? Because many of the kids I see today have no idea how to interact with a human face to face. They're completely unable to read body language and just as completely unaware of how their own might affect someone else. You can't really blame them. Their parents were probably busy texting or taking Facebook photos as they gave birth.

You know it happens.

Needless to say, I was rather intrigued by this book on the shelf. I'm not the most social person on the planet by any means, but I do love a good conversation.  A real one.  One that does not involve my phone.  One with eye contact and emotions and body language. One that doesn't get edited. One that could involve tears or hysterical laughter or a hug.

I don't care what anyone says. Nothing on the internet or your phone can ever replace a hug.

One of the cool things I've noticed about ditching Facebook is that it leaves me more available for real conversations. Not available in the sense of having more time but "available" in the sense that when I see someone, I'm more present in the conversation because since I haven't seen the "updates" of their life on Facebook, I'm more genuinely interested in listening to them.  I've realized that I spent a lot of years knowing what people did but never knowing how they felt. No wonder, as the author of the book had pointed out by page two, our younger generation seems to lack empathy. They are growing up in a world where the most used forms of communication lack emotion. I wonder how long this can really go on before it's not just our communication that lacks emotion, but our selves.

I don't know about you, but I don't want that to happen. I embrace the hysterical laughter, the occasional anger and the heartfelt tears that are sometimes part of a real conversation. They're all part of the human connection that makes our lives meaningful.

That said, let's get together for a conversation. I might even give you a hug. (Or cry on your shoulder...)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Some Days You Never Forget

January 30th is a day I will never forget. No one in my family will, I'm sure. Every year the day looms. It starts sometime before Christmas. Every day becomes a battle to hold my shit together. I cry on the way to work at least once a week. I cry every time I ride my bike, which is pretty messy in January. I discovered last week that crying in the cold not only makes your eyelashes freeze together, but it also makes the skin by your eyes 100 times more susceptible to frostbite.

Every year I vow I won't be an emotional mess this time of year, but unfortunately I've learned that you don't get to control grief. You can live through it, you can be resilient as hell and smile when you need to, but you don't get to make the sadness go away. Does that mean I wallow in self pity for two months? No, but I've learned it's also better to just be genuine with my feelings. I could totally be wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure you can't bury one feeling without losing a little bit of them all and there are so many great ones I want to keep.

The same goes for memories. I have so many I want to keep so if sometimes they came with a little bit of sadness, I'll take it. Of course there are others, like the one of Mom being felt up by Goofy at breakfast, that can't possibly bring anything but laughter.

I'll take those too and hold on to them with everything I've got.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Skinny Kids in Lycra

Despite living in the city, skiing from our house couldn't be any easier. I can literally walk across the street, step into my skis, glide across the school yard, sneak up a short trail behind the school and have the trails to myself midday.

That is, until today.

Instead of my usual peaceful midday ski, I found myself surrounded by teenagers. In skin suits. Apparently high school ski races take place at noon on weekdays. Who knew?

Needless to say I spent the next hour being passed by skinny kids in lycra.
I did my best to stay out of their way. They were kind enough not to run me over. They were too busy yelling at each other. Apparently skiing is not like running where the fast guy needs to move over to pass the slow guy. No, these guys just yell at the person they're passing to move out of the way. Now I know why I never ski raced. Well, that and the fact that I'm really not all that coordinated with slippery boards on my feet. I can run uphill like a champ but put me on a downhill and I'm like a baby deer learning to walk. Every limb goes a different way and I start swearing. (Pop would probably tell you I inherit this from my mom. My ears burned the last time I skiied with her.)

In other news, a 3rd grader told me I had soft hair this afternoon and on my way home from work tonight a guy begging for money on the corner blew me a kiss.

How's that for a good day?