Monday, October 27, 2008

Off Season Training

Last week I did not do well with exercising...Okay, truth be told, I haven't been doing well since the Tri. I think my body needed some rest time, so I've tried to be patient with myself about the lack of exercise. But, now I'm feeling like it's bordering on laziness.

In the past it has worked fairly well for me to post my goals here and have to be accountable for my activity (or lack there of). So here it is:

Today: Swim 750 yards

Tuesday: Run 30 minutes after work.

Weds: Bike 30 minutes after work (swim if weather is bad)

Thurs: rest

Friday: Run 30 minutes after work.

Anybody want to join me?

Oh water intake has been lousy!! So, now I am paying more attention to that too. And when I say lousy, I mean I can go days without drinking water if I don't force myself to do it. Why do I always dislike the healthy things??

Friday, October 24, 2008

True Story

The other day I ran into a woman who I have a minimal acquaintence with. We were talking about a few things, and some how the conversation turned to the increase in illnesses that used to be infrequent or rare. Here's where the conversation went:

Me: "I'm fascinated by the increase in children who have peanut allergies."

Crazy Lady[name changed]: Why does that fascinate you?

Me: It seems like 20 years ago, no one had peanut allergies. I wonder what happened to cause such a drastic change.

CL: (with a very serious face and tone of voice): Isn't it obvious? God is punishing us for electing Jimmy Carter to the presidency.

Me: (considerably silence)..."Wow." (more silence) "I have to go run some errands. Take care."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Political Post

This is a political post...consider yourself fairly noted.

I just read an article about an interview that VP candidate Sarah Palin gave saying that she supports a federal ban on gay marriage. Here is the link to the article (if you can stomach reading it)

Essentially, she says that she supports a ban on gay marriage, and wishes it would be acted on from a federal level. She believes that a marriage between man and woman is the foundation for strong families. Okay, I know there are people out there who agree with her. What I want to know is, why? And if any one is going to answer my question, don't stand on some misinterpretation of the bible to justify your prejudices. Because the bible can be used to justify almost any point of view, if you want it to.
I want to hear from some one (anyone)how a same sex couple has negatively impacted their life personally. I suspect there aren't many people who can give me a concrete example of how same sex couples are destroying the foundation of family.
I hear people saying that, "it's wrong. It destroys the moral fabric of society. The Bible says it's a sin."
To those people I say, "Believe what you want. But don't try to cram your beliefs down my throat. Truly give me an example of how someones choice in who they marry has affected your life on a personal level."

There was a point in history when marriage to some one of a different religion or nationality, or skin color was not accepted. I think that the majority of Americans now see that those beliefs were fear based and ridiculous. Can we PLEASE get to that point about same sex marriages? Marriage is based in love and commitment. The world certainly needs more love, so why are we trying to destroy and hide any form of it?

Palin says she is "tolerant" of gays. Really? Wow. That must be one of the most insulting things I have heard from her yet (and that's saying something). I find it incredibly offensive that she thinks it is her place to "tolerate" any one that lives a life she disagrees with. If anyone told me they are tolerant of who I am, I would be quite intolerant of them!

If some one told me they did not like Kevin, but would "tolerate" my marriage to him, I would have said, "then don't come to our wedding, and don't come to our home." What if, our government had tried to tell me that we couldn't marry? Do you see my point? The thought is so incredibly absurd that I can't even process it!

I'm actually so disgusted, that words are now failing me. I may be back to edit this post once I calm down, and can be more eloquent in my thoughts.

I Found it!

I found my next short term goal! Here it is:

Kevin and I both want road bikes for next spring, and this is the perfect match for us! It's affordable, socially responsible, and good for the environment! Plus, it'll be a super fun thing to do together!

So, we have a date for next Tuesday night to go find our new bikes!! I'm really excited to learn how to fix/repair/build a bike!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

In Limbo and in a Funk

Much of my life is in limbo right now. This is not a spot that I am comfortable in, or do well with. The lack of goals and foreward movement is a bad scene for me. When I fel restless like this, I have a tendency to do stupid things. So, I'm trying to be wise and think my way through this, rather than act rashly.

I took a new job in May, understanding that the company was in the process of applying for approval from NYS for my position. That approval process should have been completed by July. But NYS is extremely slow, and at this point, mid way through October, we still do not have approval for Service Coordination. So I am doing other work, but it is not what working with survivors, and I miss doing SC.

The Tri that I planned to do is over. The season is done in upstate NY until next May (at the earliest). So I'm having a hard time being motivated to work out. I'm evaluating what I want to accomplish in the next few months, and will try to figure out how to get there.

I need a new short term fitness goal, but haven't settled on one yet. Do I try to improve my 5K time, or build my base to a 10k? Join a swim class to improve my skills?

The seasons are changing. Although it is beautiful, the days are getting shorter. That means time outside is becoming a precious commodity. That means little time for biking, and soon we'll be stuck inside in the evenings.

Our house needs some work. Nothing big, just little projects that all cost money. The problem is that we can't seem to agree on what the priorities should be. So, nothing is getting done.

Yuck! I hate being in limbo! I like to know where I'm going, and how I'll get there. I just don't have that right now. Okay, I try to be positive most of the time. I'm just not feelin' it today.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A day with friends

The weather here in Upstate NY was beautiful all weekend. This was fortunate because I had hiking plans for Saturday.

In a very rare treat, Kevin was available to spend all of Saturday with the kids, so that I could spend the day with friends. I consider myself very lucky to be part of the Ryder/LC/Bentley trio for the past 22 years! Earlier in the month, Ryder celebrated her birthday. So this day of hiking was a birthday celebration!

LC, Coltrane, and Ryder on the cliff

Ryder came to my house at 8AM, and we headed out to meet LC. LC actually lives near New Paltz, and is the educator for the State Park there. Since we were hiking down near Shayna, she joined us for the day.

The park that LC works at is beautiful. It is unlike any other park I've seen in NY. Most NY hikes are up a mountain, with not much of a view until you reach the peak. The trail that LC chose for us, travels almost completely along the edge of a cliff. The views were astounding! At one point I stopped to watch a bird circling. I was fascinated by this bird, which was rare, because birds just don't catch my attention normally. It finally occurred to me that the reason I was so fascinated was because the bird was actually soaring below me. It was an interesting perspective.

A view of the lake

There is something priceless about spending the day with lifelong friends! The conversation, and silences, are easy. There is a natural flow and understanding that is unique to our group. So few people in this world know me in the way that Ryder and LC know me. I suspect that the same is true for all of us. We have been there for each other through all of the heartbreaks and thrills of the past 22 years. There is a depth to our connections that grounds me. These friendships have the strength that make time irrelevant. We may not see each other for weeks, we may not know the daily activities of each other(as we used to before kids and careers), but the core strength of our friendship is formidable.

The foliage from the cliff

Ryder and LC have been very influential women in Shayna's life, and have been there for her (and me) as she has grown up. Shayna has often accompanied us on hikes and camping trips and many other "girl's only" events over the years. They have known Shayna through all of her adorable baby days, fun loving elementary years, and awkward junior high events! They have been her counsel and mentors when she has not always wanted to confide in me.

Shayna dangling her feet over the edge

On this day, there was an element to our group that was new, yet familiar. As you know, Shayna has been at NP since August. Although I talk to her regularly, I do not see her every day. The distance has been a wonderful thing. She is growing so quickly into her own person. She is spreading her wings and soaring. Like the Turkey vulture I watched from the cliff, I am seeing Shayna from a new perspective too. I suspect that at times she is stumbling, and working to find her footing. I hope that she is developing her own web of friends that will be there when she is in her forties.

She joined us on this day, as an adult, a peer, and a woman friend! It was truly a wonderful way to spend the day...with 2 lifelong friends and our new "woman" addition to the group!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Apple Picking in New Paltz

This is Shayna. Mom asked me to write a little something about the family's trip down to New Paltz this past Saturday. It was family weekend here at my school and I asked Mom to bring the kids down to spend the day with me (Dad had to work).
They arrived around noon and we headed to a small, privately owned cafe at the Water Street Market in down town. After a healthy lunch outside, we decided to go apple picking. Jack and Mac had a lot of fun (reguardless of the bees) and I had so much fun spending time with them.

Mack picking an apple

Leaving the orchard

A little later, we headed over to the mall in Poughkeepsie for a really yummy dinner at Ruby Tuesdays (one of my favorite chains) and mom picked up some things from Target for me.
It was a really fun day and I was so glad the kids could come down, but it kind of sucked that I didn't really get to spend any quality time with mom. Sooooo... Mom is coming back down with out any kids this coming Sunday with Ryder (one of mom's best friends) and we will all meet up with LC (another bff) and go for a hike for Ryder's birthday! Hopefully I'll be able to have some quality time with them all!
Thanks for tolerating my intrusion on mom's blog.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Remembering Mark

One of the things that I love about my job, is that I get to meet incredible people.I work with adults who have had a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). When people ask what I do, I say "I work with people who are in Nursing homes, to get them out and back into the community." That is the CLiff note-short answer at a party.

For the past 5 years I have been working with survivors, and every one I've met has been an inspiration to me. Sometimes, I am fortunate enough to work with some one who has a profound impact on my life. This post is in honor and memory of one of those people. Mark passed away one year ago this week. His life and death continue to affect me greatly.

Out of respect for his privacy, I will not give great detail about Mark. So, how do I pay tribute to him, without giving too much detail. This is what I will say. When I met Mark in late 2006, he was sitting in a sub-standard nursing home, recovering from a TBI. He was in his early fifties, and at over 6 feet tall, was a gentle giant. I have rarely been so motivated to do my job quickly and thoroughly. We bonded quickly over our common interest in sports, and a love of peanuts and raisins for an afternoon snack!

I worked with Mark and his family to get him out of that horrid nursing home as quickly as we could. He was patient, and when things didn't always go as planned,he would often say to me, "it's out of our hands, Boss."

To Honor Mark, I must also honor his family. His mother, sister and brothers were amazing. They were fierce advocates for Mark when needed. As his health deteriorated, they supported him with such grace and strength, I was amazed.

For a while, Mark's health improved. He had a form of cancer that few people survive, yet for a couple of months it seemed that he might beat the odds. He had an apartment, and worked diligently to regain his reading and writing skills that he lost from the TBI. He exercised daily. And by exercise, I mean that he put the training I did for the Triathlon, to shame.

Sadly, his cancer returned in August of '07. He came to peace with it much more gracefully than I did. He said that he was okay with dying, because he had almost died from his TBI, and so he knew that what was waiting for him would be wonderful.In his last weeks, he was too tired to venture from his home much, so I went to see him almost daily. Often, we would simply sit in silence, as his language was failing him. Sometimes, we would watch a Yankees game. Sometimes, he would look over at me, give me a half grin and shrug his shoulders, as if to say, "it's out of our hands Boss."

And so, a year ago we said goodbye. His wonderful family was kind enough to let me see him in his last hour, which I am forever grateful for.

Much has changed in the past year. I have lunch with Mark's mom on occasion, because she is an amazing woman, and I feel fortunate to know her. When I am running, I often think of Mark. His spirit keeps me going when I want to quit and walk a block or two. When my job gets tough, and I feel like I'm not helping anyone, I think of Mark. His memory reminds me that we all have the ability to make life better for those around us. And perhaps most importantly, Mark taught me that sometimes "it's out of our hands" but that's okay.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More Tri Pics

Here are a few more pictures from Sunday

Kevin getting his "body markings"

Shayna and Jack entertaining themselves!

Heidi finshing, with Kevin's support.