Friday, February 27, 2009

There is a difference

Pronunciation: \ˈchāf\
Function: verb; noun
Inflected Form(s): chafed; chaf·ing
1: irritate , vex
2: to warm by rubbing especially with the hands
3 a: to rub so as to wear away : abrade b: to make sore by or as if by rubbing
4: to feel irritation, discontent, or impatience : fret
5: to rub and thereby cause wear or irritation

Pronunciation: \ˈchaf\
Function: noun
1 : the seed coverings and other debris separated from the seed in threshing grain
2 : something comparatively worthless
3 : the scales borne on the receptacle among the florets in the heads of many composite plants
4 : material (as strips of foil or clusters of fine wires) ejected into the air for reflecting radar waves (as for confusing an enemy's radar detection)

So if you are experiencing some "chaffing" you have a much more serious problem than chafing.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Creedmoor Cruise

I finally had a day off and was excited to go for a bike ride. I looked through my ACA rides and found one called Creedmoor Cruise which they start at the elementary school near my house, so perfect for me. And it was a good day to ride- overcast, slight breeze, maybe 10 mph, and 70ish at the start around 9 am. So off I go and not two miles out, in front of the WalMart this bitch in a convertible cuts me off making a right turn across the bike lane. I'm yelling at her, and she can hear me because it's a convertible and the top is down. A guy in a van shouts "she totally cut you off" and gave me a fist pump, to which I respond "I agree!" But by the next block, I'm out of the main traffic and shopping area, so it's all good.

I have my turn by turn instructions I'd written down, and am having a good time. Not three miles away from the WalMart I'm in cattle and trailer land. There are a bunch of dogs- dogs sleeping in yards, dogs trotting across pastures, dogs running out to greet me. And I do the recommended tactic of stopping and getting off the bike if a dog comes to chase- and it works! The chasers immediately stop and turn around and I can almost read their minds "oh, I was having such a good chase, and now what is that, it stopped, and it's coming towards me, I'm outta here!" Which is fine as long as there's not car traffic around as the dog runs across the highway. Of course I notice they're mostly intact males, and a fine specimen of indeterminate breeding- lab/heeler/brown dog.

But I do see the safari animals at the Texas Disposal Systems property near Creedmoor and it reminds of the YO. There are blackbuck antelope, emus, scimitar horned oryx, red deer, and fallow deer. And those are just the ones I can see from the road- I'm sure there are more. The wind has been a little bit of a problem, always seeming to be a crosswind and blowing me around, and now it's getting stronger. But I'm feeling good and am coming on to the last section before I hit 35 to get to the home neighborhood. And then I turn the wrong way on 1327 but I don't realize it. And of course this is the little section where they are tarring the cracks in the road and have made it a one lane highway for about 3 miles. So I wave and nod at all the workers and am glad they are there to improve the road, and am glad this section has nice wide shoulders so the cars can go around. The friendliest is the pilot car driver, who gives me a thumbs up and something to the effect of "go garble garble yeah!" Which is nice.

And I get to the light and instead of saying IH 35 it says 183, Austin 12 miles. Hmm. I've never been in this area before and now am confused- how does 183 fit in? So I stop at the gas station on the corner, get a gatorade and crackers, go to the bathroom, and ask the attendant if IH 35 is the other way on 1327, and it is. I'd turned left instead of right. But now I'm still backwards in my head and can't decide if I've made another wrong turn before 1327. And I've gone 17 miles at this point and am a little worried that I can't keep riding forever and who can I call to come pick me up if I'm more lost and too tired to keep going. And now I have to go back and face all the highway guys again.

So I turn around and head back- it's probably only 3 miles back to the wrong turn. And I wave to the guys again. And pilot car guy gives me another thumbs up as he goes by. Then a fist pump as he goes back the other way, and the last drive by it's a wave. It made my day, and I can only imagine driving the same 3 miles back and forth all day must be mind numbing, so a funny looking girl on a funny looking bicycle must be a treat! And then I'm back at the turn and it says Austin with an arrow pointed back the way I'd come to the wrong turn, so I stop and ask in the gas station on this corner, and yes IH 35 is 5 more miles down 1327. And off I go.

Now at this point though, the wind has picked up some more, about 20 mph with gusts up to 25, and though there is a nice wide shoulder, there are a bunch of trucks working the highway construction project up ahead at 35 and 130, plus the dump trucks for the Texas Disposal Systems landfill. And every time a truck passes, it pulls me forward and then the crosswind slams me sideways. It's tough. But finally I'm back at 35 and know how to get home, except the construction has closed the road overpass. So I have to get on the frontage road and find one section where I am flying (turns out to be 39 mph from the bike computer!) and the winds and trucks are just pushing me all over the place. I have to do some manuevering because the roads are not conveniently placed to get from here to there and while I could go the wrong way on a road, I won't because it's against the law. I want other vehicles to respect the law and bikes' rights, so I should too.

But then I'm finally home! It wound up being 32 miles in 2:36, average 11.9 (lots of wind and stopping and starting) and max speed 39. My hands are the most sore, followed by my butt- but I like this saddle MUCH better. I do want to move the seat post down a bit- I think that will alleviate some pressure on my hands. And I did get into aero a little, but the cross winds make me nervous and I have less control in aero, but it was nice to have options for changing position.

A good adventure and there are some roads I want to ride again, but I'll have to figure out some different ways to get around the construction. After I had some Mexican food, a shower, and a blog posting, now I'm ready for a nap. Luckily the Lumpy Dog has been keeping my bed warm all morning!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lumpy Dog

So I had posted earlier about my dog, finding his melanoma tumor during a dental, subsequent workup, and starting the melanoma vaccine. He is doing well, had two injections with very little redness or irritation (except having to go to the vet clinic at all!) And so I was feeling good, that we had dodged a bullet finding the tumor so early. So when we were sitting on the couch watching TV on Friday I was surprised to find a lump on his leg. He's had lumps before, and they have been aspirated and found to be benign lipomas- no worries. Well this one was larger and close to where the lymph node should be on the leg where he had just gotten the second vaccine. Sometimes dogs' immune systems overreact to vaccines and there can be some minor inflammation in the regional lymph nodes, okay, no worries.

So I kept patting and feeling around, and there was another one, on the opposite leg, on the inner thigh. There's supposed to be a lymph node there too, but now it's on the other leg, which doesn't fit the reactive lymph node theory. The other main reason for enlarged lymph nodes is cancer- lymphoma. And when I found the third one, on the belly in between the prepuce and the body wall... I stopped petting him. And of course this coincided with the crappiest day at work in a long time, one of the days where you decide working at McDonald's would be better than being a vet. Or maybe I could go work for the IRS crunching numbers in a cubicle. That would be better. Luckily those days come maybe once a year, but today was the day. And finding the lumps was just an added bonus to the crappy day.

The next night I got him on the couch and started palpating and found all the previous lumps and then another one in the armpit. I started preparing myself for making the euthanasia decision. This was lymphoma, and we'd have to do chemotherapy, which he would hate having to go to the clinic all the time, and feeling crappy, and I said I would never do that to him. We'd dodged a bullet the first time, but it was going to hit full on now.

So Monday I call Dr B and she's concerned, calls the vaccine manufacturer who says reactive lymph nodes have never been reported, and she says she'll work me the next day. So I'm resigned to the fact it's lymphoma, am eating everything in sight, sleeping poorly, and skipping workouts. Luckily, K is oblivious, happy to go pee on trees during our walks. I know I can aspirate the lumps myself, but I am going to see them all as lymphoma whether they are or not, so I decide to let Dr B do it.

At the appointment, which we do wait a while for, but that's okay because I've been warned. K shakes like Elvis and sheds incessantly. Her techs map and measure all the lumps, and she can feel the popliteal lymph nodes on the legs separate from the lumps. And the two on the belly are not where lymph nodes should be, but that doesn't they're not malignant. And the one in the armpit turns out to be a fold of skin- nothing there at all. She premeds him with Benadryl in case they are mast cell tumors- tumors that release histamine and can cause bad anaphylactic shock type reactions when poked too much. And while we're waiting, she wants me to look at her dog who had a weird fall and is now ataxic and wobbly, and maybe a head tilt, and she's sure there's something bad neurologic going on. Of course, she was a teacher of mine in vet school and I am SO unqualified to even trim her dog's toenails, so I beg off. She has an appointment with the neurologist on Friday anyway.

She aspirates the three lumps and goes to look at them under the microscope. Kieran is getting a little gorked from the Benadryl, which is just fine with both of us. And she comes back and says they're all lipomas- no scary cells of any kind in there at all. YAY! And the immediate relief is followed by the feeling of stupidity that I got all worked up for nothing and he's probably been growing these lipomas for months or years and I haven't noticed. But really, he's my dog, he's been mine for 13 years, and he was my dog before I was a vet. All my vet knowledge goes out the door when I look at him. It's all emotion only.

So since they're only lipomas and he was scheduled for vaccine #3 on Thursday, we went ahead and gave it today. And while the techs were doing that, Dr B showed me her dog that's she so worried about him having bad neuro problems and he's going to need back surgery or neck surgery, or maybe no surgery because it's something worse.

And he's fine. There is no head tilt. There's some old dog arthritis pain going on, but nothing that screams neuro, back surgery, euthanize, or anything. The neurologist will be able to localize and tell her better exactly what's going on later this week of course. But I realize she's the same with her dogs that I am. Even with all her advanced degrees and specialties, she's still human. We are all just pet owners with our own animals and need a vet to tell us what to do. And that's okay.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I have recently discovered capers. These are the little green seed things they put on Chicken Piccata or Chicken Scallopini or lox on a bagel. I had to look them up to find out exactly what they are- buds of the Caper bush that have been pickled. So if I was in a restaurant, I would always get something if it had capers in it, and now I have one upped and bought a jar of capers myself. I toasted a bagel and then smeared on some cream cheese, added a layer of capers, and then a layer of finely chopped red onion, then a slice of smoked salmon. And of course, the salmon is probably my least favorite of the whole sandwich, but all together it is FANTASTIC!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Good Sunday ride!

Nice afternoon for a bike ride- sunny and 67, with a light breeze. After 9 days of work with the only breaks for the half marathon and a CE seminar, I was glad to have a free afternoon. Tomorrow is the last day of the slog and again, it's my own damn fault for scheduling like this. But it's also been good because I've been shopping up a storm getting new scrubs, a swimsuit, and some nicer non work clothes.

So I was ready to get out on the bike and went from my house, past S's house- too busy to ride today but I waved as I went by, then on to Escarpment and down William Cannon to Southwest Parkway. It was 57 minutes when I hit Southwest Parkway, so I turned around and then took a break at the Freescale campus (boo PowerBar Gel Vanilla- I had it as Not Horrible on my list, but it is totally getting downgraded to Bad now!) I managed to hit the lights right on the way home and got back in only 49 minutes. It was a good ride, average 12.9, high 29.8. I like the new pedals and cleats, though I think there may still need to be adjusted a little- a little pain behind the knee on the right. I may try to fiddle on my own before I schedule a fitting with Zane later on. I keep debating trying a new saddle, but really I think it's my butt that needs a little more wearing in, so I'll hold off on that. I tried Perpeteum when I got home- another boo, and made mozzarella sticks instead. That was protein and carbs, right?

But a pretty day, and good to get a sweat on after too much work. And Levi Leipheimer won the Tour of California- yay!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Heart Google Reader

So I read a lot of other blogs, especially triathlon blogs. And I learned the trick from my cousin F about the blog roll on the side, which is super cool, and I put my top 10 there. But there are more than that I'd like to keep up with, so I was excited to read DC Rainmaker's blog here about tips and tricks for bloggers. While some of it is still a little advanced for me, I have fallen in love with Google Reader. It is super easy to set up, and now my favorite 40 blogs are automatically updated, with pictures and links, but without the distracting graphics. Who can read white letters on a black background without seeing stars anyway?

So of course, after submitting all the blogs I read, I looked up to see if Tri Tia was on there, and it was, with 3 subscribers! Of course I can guess those three are Mom, K, and F, but still. I'm official!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tour of California

The Tour of California is on, and if you haven't been following this, the largest bike race in the United States, you should. Levi Leipheimer, a California native on the Astana team, is in the lead. He has won the last two tours and has a good chance in this one if he can ride a good time trial tomorrow. Oh and there's a guy on his team named Lance Armstrong, and it will be interesting to see how Lance does at the time trial since he's in 4th place, 30 seconds behind Levi. It would be pretty tense if teammates were competing against each other for the lead, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

I want to put up some pictures, but Blogger sometimes has an odd posting page without the nice icons to post pictures- I think they're updating the server or the moon is in a quarter phase or something.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Austin Half Marathon Race Report

The Austin Half was this morning and it was a good day to run, only my legs disagreed. I had a long day at work on Saturday- 38 animals to spay and neuter and then a rear leg amputation on a chow that had been hit by a car. And it's odd because the day before the 3M I also had an amputation. But yesterday was a much longer day and I went home with my back and legs already hurting. I decided that it would be a bad idea to take any Aleve before the race, can't remember why, because after going to be at 8 pm exhausted, I tossed and turned and my sore legs ached until about 11, when I finally gave in and took some. It helped, but I still slept poorly and even considered turning off my alarm and sleeping in.

But no need for the alarm because at 4:30 I was up. I decided to go run and if I had a DNF, so be it, but at least go try it. I got ready, headed downtown way early and got a prime parking spot. Warmed up, hit the port o potties a couple of four times, and then we were off. The first three miles are a gradual incline, so no worries I was going slower, then the next three were a nice descent back. T3er K was doing a training run, looking for all the people she knew running the race, so we ran together for about a mile and that was fun. Passing TLAC, I thought about stopping by to say hello, but I didn't think I could do it quickly, and I was already at the back of the pack, so I just waved and was happy to be running and not working today. The most painful hills start around mile 9, up Enfield, and at that point as I at 2:20, and I figured I didn't have a PR in me, so I definitely slowed up some more. My right metatarsal neuroma thing was back with a vengeance, and I was walking up the hills, and then walking some even when there were no hills. Mile 9-11, that's always the low energy point for me- you're tired because you've gone a long way, but it's still not very close to the finish. And I knew the worst hill at 15th Street was coming up- and that's when I saw M and C from work, who were there cheering with their posse of dogs, one of which is the amputation poodle from three weeks ago! They were awesome and a good pick me up, and helped me run up the horrible last hill. The last mile through downtown was pretty flat, and then we joined the full marathoners about 1/2 mile from the finish. I like to finish as a big group, but here we were separated by a huge barricade. So the fast age grouper runners were hauling ass in, and the half marathoners were straggling, and the people on the half side of the street had stopped cheering. That's an odd experience, to have 50 people watching you come in, all silent. But I did hear J and a couple other T3ers cheering on the other side for me, and I finished in 3:32:18 according to my watch.

I'm glad I ran it, and I'm also glad to take a break from running and running half marathons for a while. I did just realize that this was my fourth half in six months- I think I need a rest. I'm also ready to do some more cycling and also take the T3 swim clinic. My running has improved- this was my second fastest of the four, and on a hilly course, and after the equivalent of a hard leg workout the day before. And I almost didn't do it. I'm happy I did.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Good, Bad, and Not Horrible

So as I'm ramping up the training, nutrition becomes more important. And I've been getting samples and single servings of a bunch of different products to try them out. I think I like the gel/block with water a lot better than the liquid supplement- they just taste bad after a little while, no matter what they are. So here are my lists so far:
Lemon Sublime Gu- my favorite gel. Gus are good, but they're tricky about sneaking in caffeine and since I'm off caffeine, you have to be careful. Even their no flavor gu has caffeine!
Shot Blok Strawberry- my favorite block. And now it comes in a much better vertical package.
Gatorade Lemon Lime- the old standby but still good.

Clif Shot Vanilla- thick and disgusting. Cloying flavor.
Sport Beans Lemon- don't quit get the point of these and they taste bad too.
Accel Gel Orange- weird bitter aftertaste.
Cytomax Vanilla- spit this one out.
Puresport Purple Recovery in the add water bottle- this is a good idea, but nasty tasting and it didn't mix all the way even with repeating shaking. I think protein in a fruit flavored drink is just all wrong.

Not Horrible
Powerbar Gel Vanilla- a little too liquidy consistency, and they're also tricky about caffeine.
Endurox Fruit Punch- eh.
Heed Subtle Strawberry- nice light flavor, but the second ingredient is xylitol which can cause diarrhea- it's in a lot of high protein low carb products and I found out the hard way. It can also kill dogs, so that makes me nervous.

I still have a whole drawerful of other products to try, but I wanted to be able to keep track, so I don't keep buying the bad ones.

So the plan for the Austin Half on Sunday is to carry one, maybe two gu packets, either safety pinned to my shorts (since my new favorite shorts don't have pockets) or in my sports bra- they fit nicely under the upper straps, though they do get a little too warm and sweaty. I should probably be doing more than that because I'll be running for 3.5 hours or so, but with a good breakfast (whole wheat Eggo waffles with peanut butter and EmergenC), the gu, and then whatever gatorade/sports drink as needed, plus water, I think I'm okay.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Brutal Wilke

After the ski trip, I was ready to get back to a regular schedule and training. And of course, it doesn't help that the Austin Half is coming up on Sunday. Especially since I haven't been doing any regular running since the 3M race! Man, did that sneak up on me! So I was ready to go run with T3, and when they posted that it was going to be a workout at Wilke, which is an infamous killer hill just south of Zilker park, I was looking forward to see what all the fuss was about.

Well, there is a fuss for a reason. It's about 400 yards at about 10% incline. That's steep! It is paved and it is straight, but those are about the only good qualities. And first we had to run the 1.5 miles from the meeting spot at Barton Springs to get to Wilke because it's a small neighborhood with no place to park. And then we started doing repeats- everyone was doing 6 except for IMCdA doing 10. And I did the first one in about 6:15, and so was put on a 8 minute interval. They were awful. After the first one I just walked up the steepest part and stutter stepped the rest of the incline. And the downhill was almost worse because you were balancing way back on your heels and your quads were just burning! It was not running, but surviving, and doing that just barely. And I was huffing and panting and in all kinds of pain.

So after the first one, I thought "I can't do six- I'll do four and call it quits- everyone is going faster than me and maybe I can cheat." And then I did the second, and then the third. And then maybe I'll just do all six. Maybe. As a test of will. So then four, and then five, and then I finished the last. I didn't make my interval on the last two, but I did it! But we weren't done. Coach L had us jog uphill backwards halfway and sprint down- just once for everyone finishing at this point, but the earlier finishers did two. And then a 100% effort sprint halfway once. And then we were done. Oh, except for the having to run the 1.5 miles back to the car.

Luckily the IMers were doing 10 and so the last of them were finishing just as I was- my plan of running until I'm the next to last to finish is working pretty well. So I was slowly jogging back to the car, these two red pit bull puppies- females about 5 months old, are running in the middle of Robert E Lee street, trying to get hit by cars. One woman in a Jeep stopped and we corralled them- super sweet puppies with collars and no tags. I ask her if she can take them to Town Lake- they have overnight intake with locking cages- and she says okay, so we load them up in her car and off she goes. And man they stink- of yeast and lake water. So I now smell even worse than just sweaty. But at least the pups didn't get run over and maybe the owner will reclaim them. If not, there are two cute puppies at TLAC that need to be adopted...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

HCO Event #8

So this is just the travel day, but C, K, and I get up early and go explore the downtown area of Steamboat Springs a little. We have breakfast at Winona's, which is excellent, and then do a little shopping. The town is getting ready for Winter Carnival this coming weekend and the high school kids are out making snow sculptures along the main street. It's very festive and community oriented, which is nice to see. I'm sorry to miss the carnival, with it's horse races and pageant, but I was glad to be there when it wasn't crowded. And with the President's Day long weekend, plus the carnival, it's going to be packed.

And then we disperse, taking various shuttles to the airport, and then various flights back. I want to go into anonymous mode, but there are all these people I know, so I have to be social. I am glad to be in a seat away from everyone and nap on the flight. Change planes in Dallas, then shuttle to the car, and then finally home! K is way happy to see me and I am way happy to see him. It was a good trip, but it's even better to be home.

Monday, February 9, 2009

HCO Event #7

Day four and the last day of skiing. My legs feel better in the morning, and I'm excited to ski with the rest of the group. They have been meeting every day for an early lunch at 11 at the Thunderhead rest area, so C and I decide to warm up together in the morning, and then meet everyone at lunch and then ski Tomahawk.

I've finally figured out the clothes to wear on the mountain because it's so warm- up to 40 during the afternoons. And I got some really nice Smartwool socks, though I think it would be better to have sock liners- my feet get sweaty and slippery. It feels a little odd to be on our own, but these are all runs that we've done with Bill Cropper before, so it's all good.

We meet for lunch and then take a group picture. Though one guy is missing because he doesn't like pictures and one girl because she hurt her knee. It's a beautiful day and C and I ski mostly with S the snowboarder and J who are very courteous, going slow enough to make sure we don't get left behind and taking breaks. C gets taken out by a woman skiing- just clips her from behind. And then about an hour later a little kid runs into her! Sometimes people do go whizzing by you really quickly, and you really hope they go around and not into you. And she was just a magnet!

We see the rest of the group at the lifts- they are all better skiiers and want to do the harder runs around Tomahawk. But S and J are the only ones who want to ski as a group with the slow pokes. I'm feeling really good and want to do some other blues, but C is a little shaken by all the people running into her, so we take the greens down the mountain and we're done.

It was a really good time on the mountain, and I think I improved quite a bit. I think that will help the most will be to drop some weight- that is just a big load for my legs to have to hold up for so long. And I really want to ask about the 130s the next time. And I'm already thinking when the next time will be- could I get a cheap, quick trip in before March? That would be great to try and preserve what I've learned. But I do have a lot going on, extracurricular-wise, with all the triathlon, running, and kayaking, not to mention the work so that I can pay for all this stuff.

That night, about 3/4ths of the group go downtown to the Boatyard Pub. At this point, the personalities have come out full force and some have clashed with others, so it's a little difficult. It turns out, there are some downright annoying people on this trip. But it's also the end of the week and everyone is tired. I'm happy for the trip, but am ready to get home.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

HCO Event #6

Day three of skiing and the night before I did not sleep well at all. My legs were aching and I kept worrying about whether I should take the lesson or cancel. In the morning, C is feeling about the same way, and we agree to take the lesson in the morning, and at noon or so, we would cut out early and go get massages. I'm Aleved up, and hobbling, but once on skiis, it starts to work itself out. We are put in level 5 today and get Bill Cropper and head up the gonDOla to the Tomahawk area. We have two new guys in our class today, and they are not as good as C and I, but have much more confidence and willingness to go fast and wipe out, which they do regularly. Still working on the parallel turns, keeping up some speed with comfort and control. It is a good lesson, and we wind up staying past noon, and then taking a late lunch at Rendezvous Saddle rest area.

Afterwards, I'm toast. I have jelly legs and that decreases my confidence in being able to stop, so I wedge all my turns, which makes my legs hurt worse. At 2 pm, (when the lesson ends around 3 pm) I'm done and decide to cut out early and take the gonDOla back down.
That is quite an adventure in itself because there are moments right at the top where you are facing almost directly down and swinging. But it stops swinging after a bit, and then is very pleasant and a good way to see the town. I stop for some hot chocolate- between 3 and 4 pm everyday, they have hot chocolate happy hour, which is awesome. Then I hobble home and into the hot tub.

That night is the Big Dinner, with all the HCOers going to the Ore House (say that out loud and you'll understand why it's so popular!) It's a nice steak dinner, and a good time, and then again, in bed by 9 pm.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

HCO Event #5

Day two of skiing and I am much happier with the 140 skis. I don't like to go fast, and am still having to do the snowplow to stop. Today C and I are in the same level 4 class with Bill Cropper, who is the instructor extraordinaire. He is really good, working with us individually as needed, and continuously coming up with new analogies for techniques. To work on leaning downhill, we are supposed to lean down and pet the dog on the downhill side. To work on switching the weight from leg to leg, we're supposed to imagine riding a bicycle. I'm starting to make parallel turns and feel more comfortable on the greens. So he thinks we're ready to take the gondola up to the top of the mountain.

And everyone says gonDOla instead of the normal GONdola. We take that up, then another lift to the top, and then over to what becomes my favorite section- Tomahawk. These are nice, wide blues, with varied terrain and rolling hills. The wide sections give me enough space to slow down between turns without pushing my butt over to stop completely. And they're not very crowded (actually the whole mountain is not very crowded, but some areas are more popular than others). We spend the rest of the afternoon up here and aside from one steep and narrow section on a green run, it's all good and fun.

At the end of the day, Bill Cropper says he'll be teaching lessons the next day, so C and I decide to take our last lesson with him on Tuesday. I'm already hobbling and limping before we're off the mountain, and am looking forward to some Aleve and hot tub.

Our condo and K go out for dinner at Cugino's- the other HCOers are more budget conscious and/or antisocial and don't want to come. As I get to know some of the other people, the underlying tensions and old dramas come out. And I realize that these are all odd and flawed people, and I am right there along with them. I am the youngest woman by 4 years and younger than the youngest man by 10 years. And none of these men are attractive to me for dating, but some of them are still interesting, and it's good practice. I didn't pack well, and don't have the clothes that I want to wear, so that's a little discomfiting, but since there are no men for me, it actually takes a lot of the pressure off, which is nice.

At dinner, the food and conversation are excellent, but again, I'm exhausted and asleep by 9 pm.

Friday, February 6, 2009

HCO Event #4

I'm just back from the HCO ski trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado and it was awesome. There were 13 people total on the trip, which is lower than the 30-40 that have gone in years past- just blame the economy like everyone else!

Everyone was on different flights because of schedules, so after work on Saturday, I flew from Austin to Dallas and then on to Hayden, then a shuttle to the Timber Run condo. The shuttle took longer than the flights because I had to wait for one couple who had lost a bag, and instead of taking the 10 other people, the driver waited for an hour and a half for them, and then I was at the last stop. So I didn't get in until 11:30 and after getting a key and letting myself in, no one had waited up for me, or got up, or even left a note, or set up the pull out couch- it was a bad start. Luckily, that was just about the worst part of the trip, so that's good.

The next morning, met the three other women in my condo- J, K, and C and we went on the first shuttle to the mountain to get our rental ski gear. C and I were the only ones taking lessons- she had skiied once before, and I just like the comfort of an instructor. We wound up getting the three full day lesson pack, thinking we could always take the afternoon off, because the the half day lessons were only in the afternoon, and that was no good.

I had way overdressed and wound up taking off my fleece jacket and thermal pants- it was about 20 degrees, but when I am moving, I am a heat machine! Once situated, I tried to remember how to ski since it has been two years since I went with Mom and Elizabeth to Red River. The rental place had given me 150 cm skis, but said I could swap them for 140s if I was having trouble, and I was having trouble with the tips crossing from the start, so I did swap them after the lesson and the 140s were much better. I wish I could 130s even, I don't want to go fast, and the longer they are, they faster they go. Maybe next time I'll try the 130s.

They divide the lessons into levels 1-8 and they put me in level 4 initially, and then after the ski off where they watch you ski and then divide you further, they put me in level 3. C was in level 2- she'd only skiied once before. The instructor the first day was really good, and we worked on wedge turns, putting more weight on the outside ski and leaning downhill. We stopped for lunch and had a great burger on the outdoor grill, then more practice. We stayed on all greens except for one short section of blue, and it was a good day.

Afterwards, all the HCO people trickled in from skiing and met at the hot tubs- the condo had three hot tubs and a heated pool. My calves and quads are always what hurts most from skiing, and they were already starting to protest. I was slowly meeting and putting faces to names. Then I showered and changed, and we had pizza and watched the Super Bowl at R's condo. And in bed by 8 pm- I was pooped!

This is the bottom section of the green hill for beginners, and then the lesson area with the magic carpet.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Krispy Kreme is the Antichrist

I am now carrying around my middle all the Krispy Kreme donuts I've eaten this past week. And there have been more than a couple. At 200 calories and 50% of those from fat, they are a big ticket item nutritionally, but it's amazing how they melt in my mouth down to lighter than fluff. And they're so warm and comforting, and there is a store that makes them "hot now" until midnight just a couple streets away. They are evil, and yet so hard to resist. And then they were at the 3M and at work too. You can't escape them. And it's amazing how quickly they settle in my body, like they're going to stay. They make it hard to button my pants, and make me tired, having to carry them. I'm ready to let them go, but they want to stay. They're all comfy, hanging out with all the other fat cells.

But they are getting kicked out. As of right now, I'm posting an eviction notice. And in that direction I'm now going to go for a run. Say goodbye Krispy Kremes- I'm burning you for fuel!

I can't promise never to eat another one, but I am not going to eat as many as I did this week!