Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good morning, Sunshine

So. SO. Here I am at early:30am. What to do. . .what to do.


So that's done. Take a shower to wake up? Oh yeah, I'm already awake for no damn reason at all. For the last hour, I've been turning on my left side, my eyes fluttering in a useless attempt to remain closed. Repeat on right. Now do this for awhile. Finally throw in the towel and get up.

Here's my agenda thus far:

1. Wake up dogs and throw their sorry, sleepy asses outside.
2. Gargle.
3. Make/drink coffee.
4. Check email.
5. Bother Facebook friends. (Although no one can hear me, this kind of feels like calling somebody at a ridiculous hour in the morning and waking them up.)
6. Contemplate getting in the shower despite having to shower later on after I've been swimming. (Yes. This conflict is currently taking up brain cells. Really.)

Future plans:

1. Get a second cup of coffee.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

That's supposed to be a muscle?

So I'm sure the question on everybody's mind this Christmas is, "How's Tamirra's training going?"

Had some really beautiful hikes n' runs here in CA. Looking forward to some more. I've been able to wear in my hiking boots and even dared to *gasp* walk through mud. Which makes them look like real hiking boots. But you know how it is, getting that first bit of mud/dirt/dog sh*t on new running shoes. . .

I've also been under the tutelage of the Pilates Nazi here in L.A. There's no messing around on Carrie's watch, no siree.

I've found myself with my feet up in stirrups on the medival wood gyrotonics machine, making circles with my legs while Carrie tells me to "think about my tummy." Translation? "Suck it in, champ."

She's also been making use of some area of my shoulders that actually has a muscle underneath it. My Gyro in Austin Susan calls this the "bra fat" muscle. Only it's not a muscle. It's a layer of flubber that stubbornly exposes itself under a bra (known only to me) or my swimsuit (known to the entire masters swim team.)

Anyway, Carrie and I had a 45-minute Bra Fato'rama yesterday. She and my right shoulder were having it out, which by the way, is no excuse for discontinuing usage of the bar I'm trying to single-handedly tug down using said bra fat.

Carrie's studio Web site looks so friendly and painless. It's written with curly-Q script like a wedding invitation inspiring thoughts of laughing good times while getting in shape. Reality? Not so much. Oh, the friendliness is there but only when thinking about my tummy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


My lord but I'm bad at updating this thing lately. I guess I can't tell whether I want to write somberly or full of vim and vigor. None of my personalities can make up their minds.

Anyway, I'm in California right now, which leans in the vim direction. I brought my camera with me and I've been snapping away. I've been sniffing away like a bloodhound because the outdoors smells like the beach, eucalyptus or sage. All of the smells I grew up with and miss horribly.

I will never stop being a Californian and, really, I won't rest or put down roots until I can make my way back. I've spent most of my life trying to deny what should be obvious and try to force my way into someplace I shouldn't have been in the first place.

The good side of this is that because I've lived in different places long enough to be considered a resident, I've intimately discovered areas that I would have missed had I just stuck in out in California. And I don't think my wandering soul would have settled, either.

But there's nothing like not appreciating something until it's been taken away and you want it back so bad you could burst. I can't help but look at the cliffs in the canyons with longing and regret that I didn't come to see them more when I lived here. I never saw Joshua Tree or Yosemite. I've missed miles of hiking and cycling and open water swimming, despite the problem of seaweed as big as your head that you tend to bump into if you're not careful.

Maybe I'm just getting older but I've been away too long and I think it's time to come home.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Form of a straight jacket - DEACTIVATE!

Just an update on that last entry - I wasn't exaggerating. I showered my coach with emails and phone calls and got my first workout plan so I can get my training back on track.

This has been an obnoxious six months or years or whatever it's been. It began as, "I'm being so good because I just want my back to recuperate" blah blah blah. Lately, as things have felt better I've been like a person who hasn't eaten in, well, six months.

So at last this can actually turn more into the blog I wanted it to be. More about training and achieving goals and that sort of thing.

It will continue to be riddled with snark and immaturity, however.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Excuse me, I need a moment. . .


Thank you.

It's gotta happen. SIX MONTHS. Imagine you're a racehorse and you've been kept behind your gate for six months. No one's opened it. You've just watched the other horses let free to run.

My heartrate is going up just thinking about it.

No injury justifies this kind of inactivity. Yeah. A little run. A little bike. But there's no way to build things up if I'm not building them up!!!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Raisin Hope for traumatic brain injuries

I met an extraordinary person the other day. I wanted to write about this sooner but it's so special that I didn't want to just go from brain to hand without any forethought like I usually do.

Ever heard of Saul Raisin? Those of you who are cyclists I'm fairly sure you have. Regardless, he's an amazing individual. Here's his whole story but in a nutshell he won the Best Young Rider in the 2006 Tour de France. During the last leg of the 2006 Giro de Italia, he was involved in a crash that changed his life. He received a traumatic brain injury.

Now, this is a familiar story - He had to walk, talk, read, etc. all over again. It's familiar because I had to do the same thing. It goes without saying, however, that I was far from the last leg of the Giro! But we are both on a very similar path to recovery.

Another article about him appears in this month's Triathlete magazine. Previously, I was aware vaguely of what happened to him but this was the first time I truly understood how similar our lives are.

Like any good stalker, I looked him up on Facebook and found his account. I sent him a message and he promptly emailed me right back. What a brave individual!

He also started a Foundation for brain injuries called Raisin Hope.

Now, I make fun of my brain injury and the epilepsy thereof because, frankly, at times it's downright funny. But this is now.

Then was a different story. I've had to clear a lot of mental obstacles to reach seeing any humor in it. Certainly, people, not just the injured but their families too, will not see any humor in it at all. But most people outside the Inner Circle will not understand or comprehend. The survivor must learn to get past this and prepare to explain again and again why they do certain things and can't do others. This Foundation is all about understanding.

This sort of injury involves a part of the body that's so darn unpredictable. Sometimes stuff doesn't appear for years. Some happens right away. Sometimes a combo of the two. It's very confusing and we never know what the next day will bring.

For the non-brain injured, this is a difficult concept to wrap yourself around. Sometimes, we don't know what you're saying and you must understand this and not make us feel like we're freaks. We feel like that enough as it is.

We need people on our side and we need to be on each other's sides. Please look at the Website and educate yourself about a completely different world. I've also got some other TBI related sites listed too. At least read about Saul Raisin. I'm so happy to have met you, Saul!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


This blog is great for warming up the area of brain where the writing takes place. Like an opera singer belting out, "Me me me me," or a pianist practicing scales, this is where the magic begins. (And if you don't crack up whenever you hear "pianist," you are way too mature for this blog.)

And you, my loyal reader(s), get to listen to me tuning up the drastically-approaching-my-deadline-and-I-haven't-got-crap-to-show-for-it guitar.

But sometimes, even when the highest note on the scales is attained, the fat lady never even begins to sing.

My theory is this. I've been spending a lot of time taking a lot of pictures lately. My brain is simply not a multitasker. Not only can it not perform two activities at the same time, it also needs to take a couple days vacation between each.

Back injury wise - my core is being twisted in gnarly ways by my physical therapists/Pilates instructors. Don't get me wrong, these guys rock.

An example - Susan, my Pilates instructor, goes to these machines that look like something from medieval Ikea and shows me to do next. She breathes in, exhales, engages all of her 587 core muscles and then tells me to do it.

Breathe in. . .OH. MY. GOD. "Are my exhales supposed to sound like mating seals?"

"No. Engage your core."

"ARrrrrooooooo pfffttp!!!!. Sh&*(&!" *flump* (Not sure how to write the sound of me rolling off the machine.)

Now I can't so much as sit on my lazy ass reading a book without thinking of "finding my diamond" (insert comment here) and "thinking of tightening my abs like I'm trying to zip up a pair of jeans."

Oh. And this is classic. Part of my "home exercise routine" is to find the most painful spot on my body (left shoulder blade where Satan's back muscle is located or anywhere on my left butt cheek), put a tennis ball under it and rest all of my weight on it. Point? "To loosen my supracalifragilistic muscle. This will really help on your bike."

BUT I did run twice this week for 2.5 miles each. Tomorrow I go the gym where I can pay $60 per month to let other people watch me cry like a little girl while rolling around on a pink tennis ball.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Nothing really. No, really.

I'm not sure why I'm posting anything. In the haze of the oncoming coma from leftover turkey, my brain is not thinking of writing.

BUT I am feeling guilty from not writing anything so I figure that something is better than nothing, right?

Or maybe not.

For those of you who went shopping today, I salute you. But I don't envy you. I am going to gloat, however, because I've finished almost all of my shopping and I've done it all within the confines of my computer.

Really, how do you do it? Is it a need for social contact? Are the bargains that good? I mean, it's a free country so do what you want but there would have to be one million dollars waiting for me wrapped in a big red bow for me even to approach a mall.

I did purchase a cactus.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prescription refill over the phone

(Perky voice)
"Hello and welllcome to CVS Pharmacy. Please say 'refill' for refill, 'physician' if you're a physician and 'new prescription' if you have a new prescription."


"OK. Please enter or say your refill number."


"I'm sorry. I didn't understand. Did you say, '123456'?"


"Right on. As you can tell, we're trying the lame marketing ploy of trying to sound conversational. Say 'yes' if this works for you and 'no' if you wish you could speak to a real person."

"No. I'm just trying to refill my prescription and I'm tired from something as lame as a machine at the gym that makes me spin my feet and go nowhere. I'm ready to go to bed."

"I'm sorry. I didn't understand a word you just said. You see, I'm not a real person. I'm just a computerized voice. Did you say 'refill'? Say 'yes' if you want to go through this whole speech again and again and, well, there's nothing else you can say so tough luck."


"Hello and welllcome to CVS pharmacy. Do you really need your seizure medicine this badly? You realize that we're going to send you generics even if your doctor wrote 'brand only' only your prescription. Say 'yes' if you want to risk it and 'no' if you didn't plan ahead and have to pay $50 for our expedited service."


"OK. Is there anything else I can do for you?"

"I'd like a hooker."

"Are you dominant or submissive."

"I'm a fetishist."

"I'm sorry. I didn't understand what you said. Goodbye."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Would you like ice cream with your humble pie?

An elliptical? Hurts. Karma? Hurts worse.

For anyone I've ever slighted for pumping away at an elliptical, I'm sorry. I sweated. I swore. I turned my iPod up to ear shattering volumes.

I was on the first level.

Yeah, big tough Ironman triathlete. After this back injury, I'm learning to take my humility where I can get it.

15 minutes walking backwards on a treadmill. All of my work on the leg machines kept at low reps and ten pounds. I hurt myself doing lat pulls at 10 POUNDS. I had to take a muscle relaxant when I got home. Oh, and there's the elliptical.

Also an ego-destroyer is the revelation by my physical therapists that I've been working out wrong for, oh, my whole life. You mean that's supposed to be a MUSCLE??

But for all of the humiliation today at the gym, I'm glad to be there. That was my first trip in six months and it was nice to be around the sounds of people working out. If you had asked me six months ago if I thought going to the gym would be major sign of accomplishment, I would have laughed.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Confusion in . . .3. . .2. . .1

I've spent the majority of the last 24 hours hopelessly mired in what, to me, is advanced technology.

I put my photos on Flickr, which I can't seem to link to Facebook, which I can't link to blogger but I can link Flickr to Blogger but I need to access my Google account to which my username and passwords are as lost to me as a fighter pilot in the Bermuda Triangle. What's my screen name? Is it different from my username? Which email address am I using? Is this the one where I was forced at gunpoint in order to create an account - the one I don't remember? Does anyone even look at this stuff?

Life used to be easy when I had the one little email account. Now I've got so many, I don't know where I'm @ anymore. (Bah doom)

What happened to paper resumes, cutting clips I've written out of the paper and making copies, a resume on hard stock and photos on glossy paper? Why, instead of feeling advanced, do I just feel antique?

All of this stuff is supposed to act as a portfolio to potential employers. It's meant to show my best work. The only thing I'm going to get hired for is something akin to licking envelopes. But there's no envelopes anymore.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Guess what??


(Although these are not reptiles, I took these at the Snake Farm in Texas)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Daily Kona report

I realize that, when going back and reading my posts (because if I don't, who will?), this blog has gotten SERIOUSLY off-topic.

For memory's sake, yes, I am still a triathlete. Yes, I'm still going for Kona. But if I had given a daily report of my training as of late, it would read like this:

"My back hurts."

"My back hurts."

"My back hurt."

Pretty boring, huh?

So I'll say this about today's workout - I ran for ten whole minutes. Now I'm not hating - I've been waiting for those ten minutes for a long time but I would be remiss if I didn't say that it's gonna be a long road. But I guess the shortest distance between here and Hawaii is a straight line. (I'm not sure what that means but I was trying for a metaphor about there's no other road to Kona besides the long one. Which is the one I would be taking, back injury or no back injury so I don't know why I have to been so schmaltzy about things.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Get your vampire on

Let's see I didn't make my deadline because. . .

I didn't get any of my ten minute run in because. . .

I haven't changed out of my pajamas because. . .

I'm reading teenage vampire books. If you haven't read the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyers, then by all means go to your favorite bookstore and pick one up. That way you make me justify my self-involvement.

I have no idea why I'm hooked on these.

Just one little piece of advice - don't take one of these books to bed because they're thick and hurts when you drop it on your nose. Know when to say when.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

For (really) immature audiences only

This? Is the funniest thing ever. Just make sure the volume is on.

*click me*

Just remember that you're not immature, you're developmentally special.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I am so excited and it's not from the celebratory Three Musketeers sugar rush.

It's because I don't have to seriously entertain thoughts about fleeing to another country before this one went to pot. It would have been a pain in the butt to move my horse to New Zealand.

I know that's way farther than Canada but, hey, I like to be different. Nothing against Canadians. Frankly, I've seen nothing of Canada but it looks to be beautiful. And cold. And that's why I moved out of the great city of Chicago.

And I have been to New Zealand and I KNOW that's beautiful. And not so cold. Oh, and beautiful.

Oh, I'm so off point.

Since I was legally allowed to vote, I've not been thrilled about either of the candidates. They all seemed smarmy. I know I'm one of those "don't judge a book. ." people but seriously. I voted because I had to.

This year? Way different. This year I appreciated exponentially my right to vote. I really wanted to get someone who can get this country. Senator Obama got my vote. Enthusiastically.

And god knows I hate to lose.

So congratulations to President Obama. This is going to be awesome. But New Zealand. I still coulda loved New Zealand.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Get your sticky hands off my knocker

The grocery store contains two kinds of patrons: (1) Adults who are desperately trying to kill time so they don't have to go home and hide in their cave-like dark house and (2) Parents who are cruel enough to only allow their kids to trick or treat at local businesses, i.e. grocery stores.

I am one of the former.

This is a free country, right? I mean, I stood in the Vote Early line this morning and voted like a good American should. So why do I feel so guilty about not answering my door? That every single light in my house is out and I'm burning my retinas by staring at this computer screen like a loser who never gets invited to a Halloween party?

No, it's not a secret that children aren't my favorite things to collect. But I'm not evil. It's just that tonight's potential turnout on my street is unwieldy. This entire neighborhood is devoid of children except for this street.

AND let me describe one of the costumes I saw on a 10-year-old girl. I think she was supposed to be a cat? A witch? Lindsay Lohan? All I know is she was wearing those shiny skin-tight leggings and a little top. AND her parents (or some adults) were with her and her friends. . .

I remember being a tiger in a baggy homemade striped tiger suit (I loved this so much that when I got too tall for it, I cut the feeties off and continued to wear it.) I remember being a witch that had nothing to do with a leotard. A clown, even a birthday party.

Who lets their kids go out in public like this? Did the parents take a picture before leaving the house to preserve the evening? "Ok sweetie, smile at Daddy."

So, my next question is probably expected but I'm going to ask it anyway: Why do females use Halloween as an excuse to dress like frustrated sluts?

I know this girl doesn't have the best of role models and I'm not even talking about Britney Spears, blahblahblah. I'm talking about adult women who feel it's perfectly ok to go into public places as long as it's Halloween, grocery stores for instance. Itsy bitsy tight black little dress that kept its "R" rating only because it had a smiling pumpkin stitched on it, black and orange stockings held in place by black garter belts and really high black stilettos. This would normally spell "slut" to me but she was about 50, which just meant it was sad.

This is what that little girl will look like on Halloween 40 years in the future.

Which brings me back to my first point. Why is it the norm for those of us who choose not to partake in childhood diabetes issues or encourage once-a-year hooker dressing to hide like moles in utter darkness? For whatever reason. My reason is my unwillingness to part with the fun-size Three Musketeers.

I feel like I'm taking one for the team. I mean, childhood obesity is at an all time high. I'm saving the children from that ooey gooey nougat stuff that I could eat in bowl with a spoon sans chocolate.

But, like I said, it's a free country.

I should be celebrated not egged.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'm leaving my attention span to science

Here's one for the ladies: Have you ever worried about leaving the bathroom and forgetting to pull your pants up? Not just the zipper, the whole pant.

Because I do. This is a real possibility because when I'm on the throne, I'm thinking deep thoughts. Or I'm involved in a magazine article. Or I'm so spaced out that my thoughts would read like Homer Simpson's: DoDooDeeDooo.

But my attention span is so diverted at times that post-restroom pantslessness could happen. It would take me tripping over them or walking like I'm trying on shoes at Academy where they join the shoes together with a wire the thickness of telephone lines before I had even an inkling something was wrong.

I think I would remember to pull my underwear up. (Note that I did not say the "p" word.) It's simply the pants.

I'm also avoiding checking my sent box at present. Reason being I emailed my friend Glenn asking if he is going to photograph the "sluts and dudes" on 6th Street for Halloween.

He hasn't answered me.

I think I sent it to my mom.

We're all afraid of say "I love you" to our boss as we hang up the phone. But what if you have a dream where you're in love with your boss? (I can't believe I'm talking about this. This is how certain I am that like 10 people read this blog.) And what was really gnarly was he was this gross, abusive a-hole. I swear I drank caffeine nonstop for a week just so I didn't fall asleep.

Then there's the time when my skirt hitched up past my right arse cheek in rush hour Chicago. I really thought I looked hot because 400 guys passed me with huge smiles on their faces. Not until three blocks later did a WOMAN, of course, tell me what was up, so to speak.

There's always the emailing someone and spilling your heart out at 3am. On Ambien. I woke up early the next morning lazily at first then with the force of the space shuttle when I vaguely thought I remembered but was making vows to God about faithful churchgoing that I didn't do what I did.

And this is why I avoid sent boxes. Some things should just remain a mystery.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just released - monthly anorexia!

My name is Tamirra and I am a magazine-aholic. I can't stop. Oh sure, I thought I had it licked when I canceled subscriptions to magazines that make no sense to my life - Real Simple, a probable favorite of the local white suburban mommie set, and Domino, which would make sense if I had the money/inclination to redo my house in retro-50s pieces. The furniture being about $2000 removed from actual 50s prices.

But despite having complaints about "women's" magazines, I keep subscribing to them. It's for this reason, much to my mailman's horror, that I continue to receive Sears catalog sized InStyle.

It's easier than keeping your credit card on file with ITunes. You just click the Bill Me Later button and *poof* here comes some self-confidence sucking literature that probably takes an hour to flip through.

I try to be selective. I figured since I am an athlete, I should subscribe to magazines about how to work my pectorals and get "killer abs." Oh, and wear cute little shorts and put my hair in a ponytail on top of my head.

1. When I see women like this at the gym, it makes me want to tear the scrunchie from the top of their blonde heads and preach to them about giving their souls to the anorexic Establishment.

2. My hair is pretty short and I've seen bald men with thicker hair. I've tried making a ponytail. It would take a bottle of Aqua Net and 20 bobby pins to get it to stay there.

Another reason I subscribe to "healthy" magazines is because of their tips about good food for athletes to eat. But in reality when I see a story about dark chocolate actually being a "benefit for my bod" with a picture of chick who can't weigh more than 95 pounds wearing a huge laser whitened smile, the article loses a lot of its credibility.

Not only is the model wearing lipstick while she eats her Hersheys, she holds it right up to but not actually in her mouth. It just hovers in the oral vicinity, like a chocolate carrot before a horse. Seriously? The closest chocolate has gotten to this woman's mouth has been when she stoops over the toilet to barf up dinner.

If these subscriptions are beneficial to me in any way, I'll believe men read Playboy for the articles.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Botox on my shoulders makes me happy

Well, mostly.

Eating a bowl of cereal has become the weirdest thing ever. Because most of my shoulder and neck muscles have been 'Toxed, when I try to eat with the bowl propped on my lap (I avoid tables at all costs) it feels like my head is going to drop into my bowl in a narcoleptic way.

It's like those dreams where your muscles won't work and you don't know why. And then you get sad because they don't work any longer. Or maybe it's just my dreams. (I take Ambien, which not only makes you unknowingly purchase items online/bid on random shit on Ebay/eat an entire box of Wheat Thins, makes you have the strangest dreams. It's like LSD for non drug users.)

So most of the muscle pain is gone but in an odd way. It's like non-pain. But there's still a little hold-out. One little bit of muscle that is insisting it wants Botox just like its friends and will keep me from getting on my bike until it gets it. Like an actress who won't come out of her trailer until, well, until she gets Botox.

I'm just curious, in the event I can ever get in the pool, what my stroke is going to look like. Am I going to flop my arms forward like I have no skeleton? This actually buys me an excuse from ever learning breast stroke.

But getting my tattoo dragon back piece worked on was a breeze. In two hours, Michael got more done than we have in two months because of my wooziness. And I wasn't thinking he was the devil holding an buzzing instrument containing 2000 extra-sharp needles. Now, you're not hearing this from me but using muscle relaxants other than the purpose for which they were intended also helps. A lot. A lot a lot.

I'm trying

to figure out how to do this. . .

Saturday, October 25, 2008

This is your brain on drugs

blubbbbb. . .not sure how to make the noise of a tongue lolling out of mouth. . .

Sore back. Muscle relaxant.

The only reason I'm putting anything in here is because I got my coolass new camera and I want to post a picture.

I finally made the jump from film to digital. I mean, I've got the little tiny Coolpix but I get the feeling if I showed up to an event for which I was hired as a photographer and I whip that out. . .

Anyway, this is a picture of the corgi of my dreams, Clementine. This was shot at 1/8000 of a second (she's chasing water from a hose - note the little white streaks. No they're not dust. They're my camera being bitchin'.)

More to follow as I'm currently taking pictures of just about everything.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Well THAT was disappointing

Yesterday was supposed to be a two hour bike ride. My back is supposed to be better.

So how can two hours turn into 15 minutes? Fifteen minutes spent wondering "Does it or doesn't it? Is that pain or muscle weakness? Do I really want to screw up a lifetime more of training from this one bike ride?"

Do I feel like a wimp? Yes. Am I second-guessing myself? Yes. Did I sit around for the rest of the day having a Pity Party? You bet.

I managed to pull it together for the editor of Southwest Cycling News (a wonderful, literate cyclist whom I'm looking forward to writing for). But when I went to visit my friend Michael (also the Tattoo King of the World - check out his link listed below), I was busy trying to sound cheerful and like not a thing was wrong.

You know how this usually goes. High pitched voice, nervous laughter obnoxious enough to annoy anyone within 10 feet of you, diarrhea of subject matter coming unedited out of your mouth, blah blah blah.

Oh, well. I'll see him Sunday while I'm under the influence of muscle relaxants for further work on my beautiful dragon on my back. At least my speech will have slowed and I'll probably be in a coma so he can get lots of work done.

One huge point of note and enough to pretty much turn my day around: My new camera is here!! Oh, it's delicious. This is my first foray into professional digital photography. Yes, my faithful fossilized Nikon is being put out to pasture. He and my Dad's wonderful Nikon will live their days out in harmony.

Unless I throw my hands up in frustration with the three 400-page instruction manuals necessary to just set the thing up and revert to my old celluloid ways.

I realize if I am to be marketable, I need to go digital. But if you ask any fossil who, like people who refuse to leave their houses despite the onslaught of a hurricane, are stuck in the days of photo processing and the unadulterated pleasure of losing oneself for hours in a darkroom, we are NERVOUS.

I feel like Mom in front of her computer, slowly picking my way across the keyboard hunting and pecking, reading the entire screen to make a simple decision. It will be a painful (and freakin' expensive) transition but I'm looking forward to the new wrinkles in my brain.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bun Therapy

I held a baby bunny tonight. He was soft and fuzzy and brown and leeeeetle. In my opinion, if everyone held a baby bunny at least once a week the world would be a better place.

Think about it, oil magnates would lower the price of gas because no one can rip people off when there's a little bun sleeping in their arms.

I swear, teeny little cutie pants baby animals make me talk about eight octaves higher than I usually talk. This frequency makes dogs howl because I think I hit the same range as ambulances do. It goes something like this: "Eeeeeee!!!! Look at how leeeeetle!!!! Just one ITSY. BITSY. bunny fits in one hand. . .Eeeeeee!!!!"

Sometimes there's a silent pause in between words it seems to human ears but dogs and aliens know better.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Here we go!

To say that I enjoyed being stuck with a needle 15 times, including three times in the base of my head, is a first.

I was seriously dreaming when I thought this would be just one little *poink* in my back and the fat lady sings. Nooooooo. . .we killed three vials of Botox. Just like Britney Spears, I am "Toxic."

BUT. I am also free to start training on Thursday. No, wait. I AM FREE TO START TRAINING ON THURSDAY!!!!! WHOOOOHOOOOO!!!

Yah, we're a little sore today and in a strange sort of way. What do I mean? I mean, my friggin' muscles no longer hurt. She not only took care of that nasty, pesky little back muscle but all of the nasty, pesky little muscles that ever dared to interact with the nasty, pesky little back muscle.

What animal is it whose botulism am I carrying? A pig? A squirrel? I forget. I purposely stay off the Internet for medical research lest it convinces me I'm about to grow a curly tail.

Anyway. . .yes, Thursday. Here comes Ironman Louisville! Here comes 1/2 Ironman Orlando!! My bikes need some serious lovin' before I take them out this week, my running shoes have grown spider webs (actually, these are new Nikes I'm trying out. They look like Moonboots if Moonboots were running shoes. They are actually UFO green on the bottom and look kind of like I just descended on the surface of the moon.) and my swimsuits have curled themselves into dejected, over-chlorinated balls in their little swimsuit drawer.

Until Thursday, I become one with the icepack and muscle relaxants. I don't mean to complain but how do people inject themselves in the forehead?

Oh, one important thing. I almost passed out. There something about feeling a needle in the base of your skull and (don't read this if you're easily freaked) hearing the "whoooosh" of the medicine getting squeezed out of it. Yeah. Who wouldn't faint, really? My doctor and the nurse turned into, well, a doctor and a nurse - putting me into the "special" chair, putting cold things all over me and watching me to make sure my lips turned from white/blue to red again. Very patriotic.

OK, I'm obviously falling into a medical induced haze aka "HappyLand". Merry Christmas. Don't let the bedbugs bite. Sit up straight and no elbows on the table. Be good or I'll turn this computer around.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

<24 hours 'til Botox

I honestly don't believe that, apart from Cher, anyone has looked so forward to getting Botox injected into their body.

Botulism Toxin = swim, bike, run.

(Not sure if "botulism" is spelled right but it's not redlining me, so I assume it's ok.)

I don't even know what to say apart from this except I've sighted all the hills I'm going to have ridden before Ironman Louisville and the order in which I'm going to ride them.

My coach is probably aware that I'm going to assault him with a desperate need to get the Ironman ball rolling.

Til tomorrow!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Four days 'til Botox

Monday is Botox day.

I wish I could say I'm getting it injected into my forehead to erase all the creases on my forehead from getting ignored by editors. No, it's going into my back. Frankly, I prefer it this way because this injury has gotten way outta hand.

That is why I'm battling a vicious muscle relaxant hangover this morning. Everything is still, well, relaxed.

My doctor changed my prescription because the other muscle relaxant was putting me in a coma (not a bad thing) while not relaxing my muscles (like Ambien without the side effect of unknowingly ordering expensive crap from Amazon). This prescription on the other hand gives me the benefit of the coma AND makes me look like a mime doing an impersonation of someone with no skeleton.

I still stubbornly refused to put down my book last night until I realized I was only reading the first three words of a paragraph before going to the next paragraph. Which became the next page, the next chapter, etc. I wonder how far I'm going to have to go back and try to remember where I really left off. That is, if I remembered to mark my page.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


This is so TMI but what's a blog for but to share my Inner Grossness?

I decided to make the most out of my last days of vacation by contracting the stomach flu. Um, I really don't have much else to say about that.

Here's a haiku:

*pop* bad sound front wheel
rental car far from Mom's house
Drive! Drive! Outrun flat!

Monday, October 13, 2008

For the positive Clay Aiken fans. . .

Thanks for the encouraging words, you guys.

I took the post down because I don't want my mom to worry about vengeance or lawsuits or getting my car keyed (haha). . .

Let me just say this: Clay Aiken has taken a lot of grief over the years and so have you guys. All I know is he has made my mom really happy, gotten her to travel to places and meet people she keeps in contact with (probably a lot of you!) She gets pins from everywhere and looks on the boards and there's Clay pictures everywhere (It's weird - there's so many pictures in this house it's like I had this brother I never knew about) A tattoo soon to follow (I'm so just kidding).

It's admirable and necessary to have something/someone that brings out the best in a person. For me, it's expensive tri bikes and horses. For you, it's Clay Aiken. It's not up to anyone to judge or question or, in this case, sully your beliefs by cheapening them with dumbass behavior.

Anyway, that whack-job chick was the only psychopath I saw both nights we were at the theater. Everyone else was patient and kind. I am all for people meeting someone they admire or getting their autographs or whatever. . .What got my motor revving was the rudeness, not just to my mom but to all those nice people who had been there waiting. When Clay came out the door, these same people politely handed him theater flyers while he autographed them and smiled in the pictures he took with them. He seems like a sweet soul.

On the flip side of, yes, a very strange evening my mom finally, after all these years of worship, got her program signed. So if I kept the path clear using whatever means necessary for her and the other folks who also got their programs signed, I would do it all over again.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Please pass the Preparation H

It's no secret that as you get older, your body falls apart. This doesn't happen all at once but a little at a time. It's like paying off a maxed out credit card by sending in $15 a month.

I used overhear hear old people complain in vivid detail about colonoscopies, bowel movements or the lack thereof and the latest in cataract surgery. So what does it say about my own age when I start adding in tidbits of my own?

If it's not my back hurting, it's the nasty bike accident. If it's not the seeping road rash then it's the boils I got when I had chicken pox as an adult. (Really gross.) I say these things not necessarily in the privacy of my own home anymore. I sometimes talk about this as other people are eating.

See where I'm going?

Gastrointestinal information of any kind used to destroy my appetite for a few hours until I could release the imagery. Now I just shrug and pick up my sandwich.

I still feel like if you're 90 years old, you have the right and privilege to discuss any damn thing you want at any time of day. Personally knowing the person you're speaking with vs. some random person in the elevator is completely up to you. And I don't feel like I'm there. Yet.

Part of why old people bring up the subjects in question is because they no longer care that someone next to them is consuming something that looks like the results of too much Ex Lax. And that's my problem. I simply don't care anymore. I'm not seeking attention it's simply what I have to offer during a conversation.

I remember when Generation X was the cool, hip generation. Sure, we were purported to be the laziest generation ever but it was the whole "title that ends in an 'X'" mystique. We wore black clothes and flannel shirts. We grooved to Pearl Jam.

Have you seen a picture of the members of Pearl Jam lately? They look old. Instead of battling heroin addiction, Eddie Vedder is fighting lactose intolerance.

But despite everything coming disassembled, I grant myself this one benefit as the years go by: More cake than the year preceding it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

In that case. . .

I am seriously doing my best today to ignore there's a 1/2 Ironman going on at another location in Austin other than where I'm seated in front of my computer. When I emailed them two weeks ago to let them know that I wasn't going to race, they emailed me back suggesting that "someone can come and pick up my goodies."

There's an unstated rule in the triathlon world: Don't wear race shirts from races in which you haven't actually raced. In this case, don't wear race shirts that make you want to kill yourself.

On the positive side - I found a LONDON FOG trenchcoat at Goodwill for $25.

See? If I was racing in an event that I spent pretty much the entire year training for I would never have this coat. And it will cover my outta shape big ass while I'm in NY. Maybe it's someone's way of saying they *heart* me.

Friday, October 3, 2008

You can go to Kona and I will go to physical therapy

For those who don't get the joke, it's supposed to read like this: You can go to hell and I will go to Texas. I'm not sure who said it but I guess it's a famous quote from somewhere because I saw it on a bumper sticker.

Longhorn is this weekend and I won't be there. Kona is this month and I won't be there, either. I will, however, be in a physical therapist's office and I really hope they aren't sensitive to the f-bomb. The soundtrack to this back injury is loaded with f-bombs, like a rap song without the racial epithets.

Last night I had the audacity to reach for a dryer sheet. Apparently, my back hates Bounce because it did whatever it does to bring on the hurt. Today I was as absent from the vintage stores as I will be from Longhorn/Kona. Today I've been doped up on muscle relaxants.

My schedule went something like this: Read, go into a coma, wake up, eat a handful of something, repeat. For a field trip, I went to the bathroom where I looked in the mirror. I look like I'm posing for a mug shot.

The muscle relaxants are also good for calming down the cooped up, frustrated, uber-bitch that I have become. At least when I had the gnarly road rash bike accident, I could look at (at get nauseous by) the right side of my body. This time the injury is not visible.

Secondly, invisible injuries are normally something I can ignore and train anyway, which is probably what got me into this mess in the first place.

In any case, I'm sick of listening to myself whine. And curse like a sailor on leave. I've taken to walking up and down the stairs for a workout like a hamster on a wheel. I also put my ice skates on and walk around the house. Freakin' psycho.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Forget the office, just gimme the plaid

Ninety-nine cents. 99 cents.

That is what I paid for an Ann Taylor blazer and a sounds-weird-but-looks-great plaid blazer. These are really the cherries on the cake of my vintage day so maybe I should've ended with that.

But finding a bargain like these is like winning bigtime in Vegas. You don't just head quietly toward the nickel slots after you've just scored the BMW.

Savers. That's the name of the store. Mecca. Nirvana. Sixty-four bucks and I brought home a garbage bag full of clothes. Not Old Navy. I'm talking like $100 jeans. SAVERS.

I didn't buy a single thing for the office and I would've stuffed that garbage bag even more, baby, but I was on my Vespa. I had to cram some of it into the helmet holder and I kept the rest in the bag holding on for dear life by a bungee cord from the back of my scooter.

S.A.V.E.R.S. on South Lamar but it's a nationwide chain so if the three of you who read this happen to live anyplace other than Austin, look it up. Ninety-nine cents.

P.S. What the *(& is with the library having to close an extra day due to "budget constraints" to make Austin's libraries "cleaner and safer"??? What hooey!!! This is beginning of the end, I tell you. That's right. Close the library so that the ten people who read are caving to the rest of the lazy dimwit society that our country is turning into who consider reading to consist of three letters: Wii.

New Zealand is looming closer as a logical housing choice.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Goodwill? Rocks

I am becoming a thrift store junkie. The object is to prove that, because I'm unemployed, I'm broke. If I'm broke, I can't go to Nordstrom. (I hate to go to malls anyway but that's beside the point.) If I can't go to Nordstrom, then everything I buy will be way, way inexpensive.

Case in point: My heretofore mentioned office I'm redoing. I'm determined to prove to myself that I can earn this room bragging rights to the tune of, "Yep, it's cool. I got that for three dollars at Goodwill."

At the rate I'm going, I will have this whole room done spending no more than $50.

I found a pair of jeans today at Thrift Town - six dollars. I went to St. Vincent de Paul's yesterday, bought nothing but considered passing out free deodorant. Tomorrow? Savers on South Lamar.

What a surprise to discover that Yelp rates thrift stores.

Word to the wise - I read once that someone got crabs by wearing an unwashed pair of pants they bought second hand so what I save in clothing costs I will make up for with my electric bill. And crab medicine. Gross. I'm kidding.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Diverting the diversion

Today I expected to write a brilliant blog entry about my return to the ice.

Today I'm writing a brilliant blog entry about being too injured to get on the ice because I'm too injured to do triathlon.

My doctor put me on muscle relaxants. They make me feel calm and squishy, like low tide and wet sand. Point being that I won't roll over on my arm and wake up like thirty times a night, for which they work. Unfortunately, I hover around a planet so distant from my body while I'm asleep that I actually roll all over it so my shoulder wakes up with a hangover.

All the subconscious injuries aside, I've got a diversion from the diversion. I'm redoing my office. The walls are already bright green. I'm going willy nilly with the artwork. I've been keeping to my goal of local artists only but the colors are very bright.

Some might think I don't have the slightest idea how to match colors. And I don't but I'm totally fine with this. This is what makes this room my own.

There is nothing from Ikea or fullprice from anywhere. Aside from the local artists, I'm searching second hand stores, even the creepy ones. This Saturday I'm driving to Yeehaw, Texas to see some uber-phat 60s tables. Unless they have forty years worth of boogers stuck underneath them, I will buy them.

The benefit to second hand stores (I guess I should say "vintage" so I don't sound like white trash) is there's always something new for my closet. This weekend I found a long tan leather 70s vest (wacka wacka wah wah) and another vest with Chinese brocade like I'm a blackjack dealer in Casino Royale. Oh, and a polyester shirt with little daisies all over it. I consider it acceptable to wear at least two of these items at the same time.

Anyway, blah blah blah. You can see the writing offers are pouring in. I like to think of myself as "choosy" and "discerning" but really I'm just groveling and bored.

Monday, September 29, 2008

New ways to injure myself

I tried to get this "can't train because of back injury" out of my system so I'm trying something else - Diversion.

I'm lacing up my ice skates and heading back to the rink. No jarring of my arm and a good way to keep fit. Also, it keeps me from trying on every last pair of pants daily in my closet to make sure I can still get into them.

For those who don't know (and who would, really) I used to skate competitively for my entire life. Yes, I was one of those weird kids that didn't go to movies or date. Instead, I spent every waking moment (hello, 4:00 am) on the ice.

So here we go again. I'm even taking lessons. They do actually have lessons for adults who skate or want to skate. And there is a rink in Austin.

The skates I have are brand new. And unless you've had the pleasure of wearing in a pair of top-notch 2-inch thick pair of leather skates, you don't know what you're missing. Let's put it this way: I bought a set of blister pads that stick to my ankles like SuperGlue made the construction guy's helmet stick to the piece of wood.

Therefore, instead of bunny slippers or a comfy pair of socks, I'm wearing my skates around the house and doing squats to wear in the ankles. (A good sign that skates are finally wearing in is a telltale crease right around the ankle area. In my case, not even a hint yet.)

Fortunately, wearing skates, although painful for now, is like wearing running shoes for me. I can walk up and down stairs in them and could probably do some laps in them.

Important clarification - I have "guards" protecting the blades of my skates as I wander. These are plastic things that I put on the blades to protect them. Skates are freakin' expensive. In high end skates, blades and boots are purchased separately. Boots cost around $800 and blades $500. I also own the BMWs of the skate world. There are some that can purchased for less so I wrote my own ticket for the half dollar sized blisters.

Also important is the higher quality the boot, the thicker the leather. The thicker the leather, the nastier the blister. And so forth.

One more note. The blades are sharper than any of my chef knives (which isn't saying much, they're pretty dull - what I mean is how sharp chef knives are supposed to be.) So trying to initiate a stop while you're wearing a cement shoe is nearly impossible. You either flip forward or wait to blast into the wall (not a good option because you don't want to dirty the perfect white leather.)

Naturally, I enjoy speed. Clearly, the only option is just decelerate until I come to a stop.

Despite all this, I'm really looking forward to a reason to get off my ever expanding butt everyday. More on this as I go along.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Here's where it gets weird

Yesterday I had the weirdest medical test. That makes it sound like I signed up for one of those medical tests they advertise in alternative publications. It wasn't. It was for my ever-present and life-interrupting back problem.

Thank god for my neurologist. Let me just say that she's a former competitive cyclist, which means she doesn't suffer fools. So at my usual check up, how's your head appointment, I told her about my frikkin' back.

Then, like a doctor on a mission, she managed to push down on every little painful spot and declared that she thinks I have a muscle that, for god knows how long, has been spasming and not a pinched nerve.

So that brings me to the weird test. I forget the exact name. It's something like, "Nervo-muscle thing-electroshock with needle-test."

The first thing they do is put these electrode things on your hands. Then the nurse tells you, "You're going to feel an electric shock." Having a tattoo in progress on my back immediately makes me think, "It's really going to hurt."

Well, it didn't hurt. It was just weird. It made my hand jump around. How to describe the shock. It was, well, shocky. They did this on various places on my hands. Then he took out a measuring tape and measured the distance between, er, shock spots? Obviously, this test was beyond what my fertile imagination can dream up.

Part II: My neurologist came in, and with an acupuncturey needle, stuck in places and listened as my nerves made noise. No kidding. And they do. They make noise. I The noise goes from "hey, there's needle in me" to the release from the depths of hell. I make it sound really nasty but, honestly, pain was (relatively, depending on which muscle you talk to) minimal.

With one exception. The area of my injury. She kind of moved it around and you wouldn't believe what that area said. Not sure how it translates into English but I'm pretty sure it would have received an R rating. It gives me the creepies to remember how it felt. Do not try this at home.

Anyway, now that I've been diagnosed, we move on to physical therapy. Oh, and Botox. Not in my forehead where it needs it most but in my back to stop the muscle from spasming. I cracked up. I know these people are professionals and have done this procedure many many times. I think it's funny.

Sooo, my exercise consists of working my core muscles out by learning to ride Western. (I'm doing pretty well.) And lifting the saddle. Those cowboys do not mess around when it comes to heaviness. I guess if you can pick up a cow with your bare hands, a saddle is no big deal.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

You CAN lease happiness

In an effort not to let myself dwell on *ahem* my back situation, I've brought in another member of the Horsie family.

This started as a diversion tactic but has turned into something better. My horse, whom I own, is the victim of a horrible, did-you-go-to-the-online-farrier-school, shoer. Lightly put, the front part of his hooves are curling around and back into in the sensitive white part of his hoof. This is not something that happened overnight but over the span of about seven months. Coincidentally, how long I've been using this person.

Anyway, think of walking around with ingrown toenails on all ten of your piggies and running a marathon in ill-fitting shoes. What's the first thing to come into mind? Pain. . .hm, what else? So this is what my poor defenseless animal, who had no other way to tell me other than, starting last week, walking with his head so low and barely moving his front feet.

There could be a happy ending - I've got the Manolo Blahnik of the horseshoe world coming on Monday with the vet by his side. (For those few unenlightened, search Manolo's on Google - note the price. It will not be much different for this farrier.)

Sooo, at the advice of my good friend and guardian angel, Christi Bacot, who owns the beautiful farm where Cowboy lives, I started to ride Cecil.

What a beautiful horse. I'd like to think we had a connection the first time I rode him. Smooth changes and he's practically telepathic, my cues using my legs were so subtle. I knew right away I wanted this McPonypants in my life.

So I leased him. Now my English-riding ass gets to learn Western. I even bought a sweet pair of boots.

As when I first met Cowboy, he's kind of wondering who this person with the baby-talky voice who's getting on his back on a daily basis. (She does bring cookies, though.) It will take time for him to either get sick of me or become my friend. With horses, usually the friend wins out. I'm not above bribery by cookies.

My pony is, of course, insanely jealous. He's stuck in a stall with funny boots on his feet. He used to be a wild horse in South Dakota, so you can imagine how well this is going over. He gooses me every time I get near him and demands nose kisses and ear scratches.

We're in the same boat, Cowboy and I. Due to injuries, we're stuck in a stall unable to do what we really want to do. We both know it will eventually heal but in the meantime we pace, we wonder why we're caged up and we're not doing what we were born to do - rely on our high spirits to drive our lives.

More pictures of Cecil the Sea Monster to follow.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The see-through triathlete

It isn't about life. It isn't about death. It is something for which I'm trying hard to bypass melodrama and it's definitely not bad enough to seek out book rights.

It's this simple: An entrapped nerve in my back = no Longhorn 1/2 Ironman.

Coach asked me why I do triathlon. And not in a rhetorical sense. He means, "What do I get out of it? What are my reasons?"

My first thoughts are what they always are: Triathlon is the polar opposite of where I was in 1991. And this is true.

Why else?

Here's where the possibility of melodrama presents itself but disregard that sentence and give me this.

Unless I'm in the middle of a workout it's impossible to put this reason into words.

I disappear. But not in a bad, psychologist's dream-client kind of way.

My whole life disappearing has been my superhero talent. I don't literally disappear (that would be a psychologist's dream client) but I can be silent beyond silent and be so still that it's a long time before anybody sees me and then they jump. "Oh! You scared me! I didn't see you there!"

I used to escape parental punishment this way. Not forever. I knew it would come but it would come on my terms, when I was ready. Sometimes they were so surprised to see me standing right behind them that the punishment was forgetten. And yet, they looked under the bed, in the closet against a wall but they didn't see me. I was an Olympic champ at hide and seek.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that this is a major reason I race. I like that I can wrap myself around where I am inside and I race on my terms. Whether anyone can physcially see me isn't the point. I can see them. I look into their eyes as I pass them on my bike, even though they didn't realize I was there.

That's the obvious part. The part that's not so obvious is that whatever I'm doing, in the water or on land, my thoughts and actions are not visible but so apparent to me. It's a private place. The same place I went to under my bed or curled up behind the tree. And I like it there.

"Oh, it must be a 'runner's high'." No. How to categorize a feeling this personal without falling into the trap of that overused phrase? I could have all the journalism degrees that I want but still not be able to spell it out.

My goal while I'm racing is to stay there. When I hurt and I'm aware of it, when I'm breathing hard and feeling sorry for myself, I'm not invisible anymore. My goal is to get back to where I'm comfortable and stay there until about 50 feet from the finish line when that glorious, deafening cheering and hand slapping show me that I can pass the torch to my everyday, visible side.

And the rush. Oh, the rush.

Nothing does this to me beside triathlon. It's why I won't give up.

I cried like a little girl yesterday when I found out. I cried for a long time. But now it's over. It's a fact now. When the cannon goes off for Longhorn in two weeks, I will not be in the water.

My mom is taking me to New York the week after the race. I thought about going to her house early but I won't. That would be defeat. I want to be here. This is acceptance.

As for the future, well, I will still be the polar opposite of where I was in 1991. This is not the last race of my life. My back will be better, even if I have to have surgery. I learned to walk. I learned to talk. I did not accept defeat even though I was told I was going to have to. I will not accept it now.

There's more reasons but I've used enough space for now. Bring me Kona.

Friday, September 12, 2008

It's come down to this

As much as I complain about the lack of originality on the part of the people who are *ahem* sensitive about bikes on their precious roadways?

Today I flipped off a redneck.

He was totally asking for it and I'm afraid I went primal. He was behind me (and I'm talking he could've taken a sip from my water bottle) in his Ford F2000432 Hemi Elephantine Gas Waster and he honked for, I'm not kidding, 90 seconds.

As he wooshed around me - there it went. A mind of its own, my middle finger had. How base. How unoriginal.

It reminds of something a police officer told me when I was 16 and sitting in my friend's backseat after getting pulled over - "And YOU. . .Keep your little fingers to yourself."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where were you?

I wouldn't normally write about this. It's too sensitive, too real.

Except as I woke up and walked out into the living room, I had this eerie, scared, feral feeling/memory of the Twin Towers coming down.

I felt my face go pale and my hands shake. A sudden fear that this could happen again and a burst of anger that we cannot predict the future.

I didn't realize it is September 11 until I logged on to the computer.

So where were you? Where was I?

Everyone who remembers this was somewhere. At work, in the grocery, walking somewhere, stuck in traffic, out for their swim, bike or run. I was getting my masters in journalism in Chicago at the time. The photo teacher often hired me to help a visiting artist or photographer set up their work in the art gallery on the first floor of the campus building.

The photographer I assisted that day was an older Jewish man. He did a series about concentration camps and how it seems that a modern society has settled in around them - the camps simply a place for tourists to visit. For example, one photo was of teenagers laughing and waiting for a train. The station name above them read "Auschwitz".

As expected of someone with an old soul, he was quiet and contemplative. We weren't overly chatty but neither were we silent. Sometimes we talked about his photo essay sometimes we simply discussed camera equipment and sometimes we talked about journalism.

As we were carefully placing the photos where he wanted them (and giving me the honor of helping him to decide), the receptionist located in the lobby outside the gallery leaned around the corner and said, "A plane just collided into a building in New York."

I could feel the fear pass between me and this man who had seen so much. Somehow we knew this was not the error of air traffic gone awry. After exchanging a look that said so many words, we continued to lay the photos out with shaking hands.

Concentration camp after concentration camp. Although the photos featured none of the horrible, heart shattering images of what humans can do to other humans, the ghosts screamed in terror from the dilapidated buildings.

The receptionist came out again and said, "It's terrorists."

The photographer's eyes, the ones who looked through a viewfinder and saw a melange of daisies growing from former terror factories, met mine. He whispered, "It's happening again."

So now along with memories of finishing Ironman, struggling against epilepsy and winning, hugging, loving, lives a polar opposite - a chunk of an atrophied heart.

Let's do ourselves a favor and never forget where we were.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Cockroaches and roller coasters

Things I'm deathly afraid of (no particular order - they're just popping into my head this way):

1. Cockroaches/scorpions
I really can't separate these two in terms of ooky-ness. Granted, the scorpions in Texas do not look like pictures of them in the Middle East or a rainforest somewhere. The Austin ones are only about two inches long. But they freak the crap out of me. I check my shoes all the time by turning them upside down and yelling into them to scare the scorpion. This is because I remember those cowboy stories of putting their feet in their boots prior to wrastlin' dogies and getting painfully killed by a scorpion because of lack of diligance.

2. Roller coasters
I know. I know. But I do not like being spun around nor upside down unless it's from my own doing. How can people like this? I'm high strung enough - why would I wait in line for like two hours so I can be forced to scream or barf from fear. I know physics dictates that being spun and dropped will not always result in certain death but I don't want to push the envelope. I like my role as "purse watcher" as long as people leave me alone about not wanting to die and provided I bring a book to read.

3. Walking in a room without first turning on the lights
No, I don't think there's a boogie man in there. This reasoning is as undefinable and mysterious as whether there's life on other planets. You might be confused as to my method. I see a dark room, reach my arm around and send my hand on a exploratory mission, then flip swtich. This is a challenge when I'm at someone's house I don't know or a public restroom built for one. When the light is located at points unknown, I have to hold the door open with my foot, sight the lightswitch and leap for it before the door closes. God bless the bathrooms where the light automatically flips on when I walk in the door. My closet is like this but as soon as it detects a lack of movement for about five seconds, such as bending down and tying my shoe, it shuts off. Then I grab the nearest piece of clothing or available body part and wave it like Old Glory.

4. Lightning
When I'm outside working out and I hear the slightest crash of thunder I scream like a little girl. And I have a deep voice so it comes out weird and un-squealish. Like a failed gargling of mouthwash. Anyway, it does wonders for my mile pace and bike cadence. But if I'm inside and it's outside, no WAY am I even going to set foot on the porch. I know all the hardcore pros and non-pros race no matter what. And I guess after paying $550 for Ironman and whatever other godawful hotel/travel price, I'd still race. But not without making a lot of gargling noises.

5. Goats' eyes
They simply go the wrong way. It's not that I'm afraid of the goat itself. If it had a blindfold on, I would definitely pet it. And certainly from a distance, the babies are cute. But if I look them in the eyes, I feel my irises trying to turn themselves horizontally because they are confused.

Ok, enough.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

For some reason

This picture? Reminds me of my mile repeats this morning:

Monday, September 1, 2008

You've been warned. . .

To whatever gnarly, creepy, fast-moving bug-creepy thing that just skittered across the bedroom carpet:


Tomorrow death arrives for you in the form of a man bearing a tank filled with stinky stuff, which will cost you your life.

You will pay for keeping me awake all night, psychotically scratching myself because I think your ooky legs are crawling on me. You will pay for me having to spray my horse's anti-insect spray all over me.

You may have eluded my detective work, which consisted of squealing and kicking every piece of furniture to see if you'll run out with your 500 legs BUT you will. not. escape. the. Orkin man.

So party it up tonight (just not anywhere on my body or within 20 feet of me) because tomorrow? YOU WILL DIE.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fountain of Kickass Swimming

Yesterday I swam with the Longhorn Masters swim team in what has to be Mecca for swimmers, the Lee and Joe Jamail Center at University of Texas.

Let me put it this way. The Olympics? The ones that just happened? Piersol, Crocker, etc. train here. They train here. They swam (and will hopefully continue to swim there so I can catch whatever it is they have) in the same water I was swimming.

Let me gush about this pool. (Swimming pun - haha - pfft! Is this thing on?) It's the deepest pool I've ever swam in. I feel like a polar bear or an otter because they actually have windows below so little kids can bang on the glass. Sometimes, I hear, they wake up Ian Crocker who's napping on the bottom (breathing through his gills). Children, it's not polite to bang on the glass.

Anyway, it's so deep that it makes me want to just dig my arms in and scoop water out on my stroke. The good part: That makes you go faster. The bad part: My triceps feel like beef jerky.

Even walking into this building makes me feel like a badass. Although this is quickly put aside as I make my way to the pool and see people who beg the question - How can they move in the water so easily without using any movement or breathe ever? Anyway, the magic pool is housed in this huge, windowless building. Inside are bleachers all the way around. Then there's the diving pool with all the different springboards, platforms, etc. Every movement echoes because the building is the size of like, three Costcos.

I'm not a starstuck person. I could care less if Brad Pitt, with or without Angelina, walked by me. But Aaron Peirsol? Kirsty Coventry? Ian Crocker? Eye contact. . .forget it.

Here's a link: Lee and Joe Jamail Swim Center, University of Texas Feel free to ogle.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Will beg for comments

It's not that I'm unhappy that the three of you are taking a moment out of your busy (read: employed) day to read my blog but:

I'm needy.

I speak of "comments." Send me some please. It's easy. Just take that mouse thingy, move it over "comments" (this is usually preceded by a zero) and give mama some love.

You can stay "anonymous," you can be a prison inmate, you can be an employer immediately dissing me for my plea of employment.

I'm desperate for anyone.

I'm Tamirra and I approve of this message.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hearts and flowers and butterflies

If you don't want to read whiny and bitchy, feel free to link to Disneyland.

Because I'm frosty and I need to let it out.

Feel free to: Let loose with the hearty "thanks for letting get in front of you" wave. My theory is this - if this is done in the morning, this person (me, in this case) will be that much happier and will pass this happiness onto someone else, who would then...etc. And, just think, all of humanity will be happy and you're responsible. What could be better?

Spare me: With your thumping, pollution-causing smokestacks cutting me off as if a turn signal is now an optional feature in late model automobiles. (OK, a little break here with a Nugget from my Knapsack of Knowledge - cars are the downfall of civilization. Why? How often do you yell "you asshat!!!" at the guy in front of you? Would you really do that to someone in line at the H.E.B.? We now think of cars themselves as entities. We are enclosed in them like our own fortresses, which gives us permission to be hostile to anyone/anything in our sight. Thank you. I'll now accept my Pulitzer.)

Feel free to: Be wonderful and move to the other side of the road or at least away from me while I am riding my bike.

Spare me: Re: Zooming one foot away from me squealing your tires, yell "get off the road", throw a bottle/can/shoe/anything at me. These are unoriginal. You don't need a graduate level marketing class to know you've got to get their attention with exciting, colorful, ORIGINAL gimmicks. So why not throw a gift certificate for DSW? I'm probably uber-thirsty so a 64-ounce Big Gulp wouldn't be unwelcome as well as making an excellent, accurate projectile. Remember, we'd just as soon you not be there, either.

Feel free to: Not smack me in the face with a door you failed to hold open for 2 seconds while I try to get into the store, too. This has nothing to do with chivalry. I'm equally upset with a woman who fails to hold it open. Whenever a woman/man holds the door open or *gasp* makes eye contact, I get obsequious. "OH, THANK yooooouuuuu!!! You have a pleasant day." I then produce a document that doesn't differ much from a diploma rewarding them for their contribution to the well-being of society.

Spare me: OK. Repeat after me: "Please." "Thank you." "Excuse me." "I'm sorry I ran over your foot with my shopping cart." "Can I help you with that?" Oh, and the biggie - "Miss" not "Ma'am."

Feel free to: Take full advantage of the childcare resources at Lifetime Fitness. No, your child is not "cute" when there's five of them and they are all squealing at ear-shattering volumes and playing tag at the entrance of the locker room while you're talking to the friend you take yoga with. No, I will not make eye contact with you and roll my eyes, smile as if to say, "Ohhh, kids."

Spare me: Letting your child push the other set of younger children in their built-for-three super off-road SUV of a baby carriage in front of me so I can neither get to the pool, get to the restroom, get to my locker. Oh, and while we're on the subject of lockers, it is sincerely not cool to change diapers on the tops of the benches by the lockers. I realize I put my butt down on it, too, but hopefully it's poop-free.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Miss Lazy McSleepy Pants

I love getting my workout done in the morning - it gives me all day to feel smug about what a good triathlete I am and grin at all those poor saps who are sweating their whatevers off in the middle of an Austin August Day of Humidity. "Ooooo, I've already done that. . ."

Sometimes I am the poor sap, the smug-ee, if you will.

I loooooove to sleep. I have this reputation of not waking up early enough to get to the race site and both use the bathroom AND start the race on time. I have heard the cannon go off and I'm sitting and reading the newspaper. Then I have to run and dive into the water.

Then there's the Austin 1/2 marathon last year where, again, I was in the bathroom. I ran to the race start and realized I was in the 1-minute mile group. Then the gun went off and I was the world's most panicky salmon screaming, "Where's my pacegroup!!!" And the Chicago Marathon. Hmmm.

Ok, right. The potty doesn't have anything to do with sleeping. But if I could sleep in the potty, that's where I would be.

I'd rather sleep than eat. I require at the very least one nap per day. And none of the wimpy 20-minuters either.

So off I go into 150 percent humidity, drinking fluid that started out as iced-down Carbo Pro, now living as hot tea in my fuelbelt.

Alarms are useless. I don't even remember getting up and slamming the damn thing into the wall. Even if it does permeate my Wall o' Slumber I become a bi^$# on wheels.

FYI, today was a good morning day. I got my workouts in and it was in only 85 percent humidity. I'm counting the days until September.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Stepping outside the comfort zone

I haven't written anything since last week because I've been enjoying eating a fresh helping of crow.

I went to my first criterium race with Team Hotel San Jose.

Me? Prior to that? Badass cyclist. Pass people at Ironman with the greatest of ease. No problem at upcoming races. If anything gets dropped from my schedule, it's cycling because I am THE BOMB.

Me? After that? Slow as snail. Head up ass. Humble and humiliated and the rest of those "hum" words.

In other words, spinning my fool head off to even get to the back of the pack. Oh. You don't use the big gear constantly? Not even out of desperation? Oh. You really have be strategic and non-afraid of leaning my oh so experienced body practically into the pavement and not be paranoid of a scortching case of road rash?

Now. I've signed my slow ass up for a 62-mile road race this coming Saturday. I am fully prepared and expecting to make an Idiot Supreme out of myself.

My coach? Totally aware that was going to happen. "So how good a cyclist do you think you are now?" Ummm. Errr. Yet if he had shared this knowledge with me ahead of time, I would have gotten cocky. I think that would enlarge the slice of humble pie that I'm now consuming so, in a way, I'm glad he kept his little secret.

So now? Start at square one.

Despite a HUGE case of embarrassment, I learned a lot the other night. Most important, I learned that I need to train with the best to be the best. Here's what I'm up against at Ironman.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Three cheers for me!!

The preamble goes something like this: I don't like to brag about myself but. . .


Yes, this is a major milestone in my life. One my favorite places to be is on my bike. I get to "become one" with the wind, concentrate on strategy, feel myself push and pull on my pedals and, in Texas, dodge a wide assortment of road debris.

I don't mean to sound pathetic but I don't have many friends here in Austin. Since I was young, I can't stand cliques. They're toxic and exclusionary. But now I believe I've joined a great group of women who can most definitely kick my butt but who can most definitely kick my butt.

I'm expecting to learn so much from them and feel very proud to be included. And I feel proud that they don't exclude people because of what branch of cycling they're into.

Triathlon is by no means a thing of the past. I'm using this as an extraordinary chance to improve my cycling by leaps and bounds and make me a contendah.

My first race, pending coach approval, will be September 14 in Chappell Hill, Texas. It's a 50 mile road race and will involve a much different strategy than what I'm used to.

This is the most exciting day I've had in awhile and I'm just going to bask in it.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I'd rather be a live tool than a dead stud

I know it's hard to believe but cyclists have ego problems.

No, wait. It's true.

Read ego as several things: Macho problems, talking loud needlessly problems, roadie v. triathlete wave-and-be-friendly problems. You get the idea.

Specifically, I'm addressing road against sidewalk usage problems. I believe this would fall somewhere between "ego" and "macho" but that's just a guess.

Anyway, there's a road nearby called, appropriately enough, Slaughter Lane. This road leads to a suicidal, busy highway that we use for a time trial area. There are two ways to get to the TT area from my house: Either down the sidewalk or down the street.

"Real" cyclists do not use sidewalks. At least that's the common thought amongst those on two wheels. Instead, the "GENUINE cyclists" use the street where there's no more than a foot between you and the speeding high school kids in thumping cars, the big dump trucks that are headed to the 23rd Walgreen's they're building in this area and/or rednecks in environmentally conscious Monster trucks who'd like nothing better than to knock them cyclists deader'n a doornail.

Or there's the sidewalk.

There's a high school on this route to the time trial road. It's supposedly a "quality" school (since I happily own only the four-footed brand of child, I have no solid proof but that's what I hear.) Quality school = rich suburban parents. Rich suburban parents = big wide smooth sidewalk that the 10 kids who don't drive their BMWs two blocks to school can use.

This is the nicest sidewalk I've ever seen. It's also the one I use so I can get to the TT area with all of my body parts. Most important, my bike won't get mangled.

Oh, I've seen the smug looks from the morons riding on the street. That's when they can look up instead of concentrate on riding the pencil-wide white paint on street so they don't DIE.

Another bit of proof that I'm smarter? There's at least two of those remembrance cross things on the middle of Slaughter Lane. Cyclists? Dunno.

Are there any on The Sidewalk? No.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Uncross your eyes - they're going to get stuck like that

I'd hate to disappoint my legions of fans so I figured I should write something.

Last week was the opposite of recovery week. Although I discovered where to find the best drafts from the air conditioner when stretched like a corpse on the ground, I also found that I can survive some pretty grueling stuff.

I've noticed that I've gotten better. My cycling is stronger, my running is faster and, ok, I'm no Michael Phelps but my swimming is coming along.

The thing that I noticed the most was that I could ride my bike for four hours and not want to die. I enjoyed it in spite of myself.

Anyway, yesterday and today I've been sick. Like, SICK sick. I think it was rather prescient of me to write about dreading to go to the doctor with frequent tonsil ailments since that's exactly. what. I'm sick. with.

I had to call Zappo's (another story, another day) to return my Ugg's (I am absolutely aware that these went out with, well, I'm so out of it that I don't even know what's been out lately) but I love them.

Anyway, their customer service is awesome but I know they were thinking, "This old lady needs to stop smoking."

My eyes are that rheumy red and they feel like they're crossed. This morning, I wanted to pretend that I was alright and put my contacts in. Add that and the fact that I can't stay awake for more than an hour at a time - well, you do the math.

I managed to discover a new workout yesterday - you can lift a full laundry basket just a little bit off of the ground and work your abs.

Friday, August 1, 2008

On grape lollipops

When I was a kid, I used to dread going to see the doctor.

I don't think I feared anything other than shots except for the idea of simply going to the doctor's office. Even the issues of Highlights and the book of the illustrated Bible stories seemed sinister. Then there was the smell, antiseptic and waiting to penetrate my skin with a needle that seemed more enormous the more I thought about it.

In my case, there was something special about getting a shot and it happened every time I would go get one - and as a kid who got throat infections every other day, there were quite a lot. (Also this nasty "orange" flavored throat stuff I keep have to swallow as best I could with tonsils coming through my ears.)

Anyway, I would pass out. I would pass out so hard that my doctor would panic. Then I would be moved into an empty exam room where it was cool and comforting.

I tried to be tough. When my mom and I first stood in line, I would try to feel unaffected by whatever infectious disease was just injected into my shoulder. (Never had to have butt shots, thankfully.) I would try to will my brain into thinking I was tough and passing out would not happen to me this time. I would even joke about with my mom saying something nonchalant such as, "Remember when I was little and I used to pass out when I got a shot?" WHAM.

But then came the colors. Then the cold sweat. Then the air conditioned room. Then the extra lollipop (grape, mmmm).

I bring this up not because I've recently had strep throat but because today, I passed out.

There were no needles in my future or recent past. I just came back from my run of 1 hour, 15 minutes. I started seeing the colors about five minutes before I was finished. Then, just like when I was eight years old, I tried to be stoic.

Only it wasn't an air conditioned room, it was my air conditioned house. And I wasn't lying on my back with grape lollipops being offered to me. I was lying on the floor with the same cold sweat, the same desire for sugar.

MEDICAL FACTOID: It's not a seizure if you're conscious, which I was.

Theories are: 110 degrees outside; no salt intake; not enough hydration between workouts.

Anyway, I slept for about three hours and now I've got a pounding headache. But I've got a bag full of lollipops in the pantry.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

And now for some random facts from Recovery Week

Words I refuse to say out loud (and would just as soon no one say them to me):

BRA - In junior high, my friend Debbie and I used to say, "arb." Mortifying whenever I'm required to state the reason I'm going to Macy's.

PANTIES - I swear, I'm not underwearphobic. These two words, though quite related, are not hated as clothing items - they just won't be uttered out of my mouth. Extra credit if this or the previous word is uttered by a nurse at a doctor's office. As in, "Please remove your ___ies and the doctor will be in shortly."

CORNUCOPIA - This started in elementary school around November when the hand/turkey projects started going down. The cute little window ornaments started to get stuck on the panes, etc. This was always a classroom project offering. As in, "You can trace your hand and make a turkey OR you can make a ____copia."

Words I can't get enough of:

CREAMY - Has always been my favorite and will continue to be. It's just like what it sounds like. A good match for "creamy" is. . .

ICING - Now, unlike the first two lingerie words that are independently nauseating, pretty much any word associated with a vanilla cupcake or buttercream icing (there it goes!) is utterly and completely intentional.

For some reason, my mind is occupied with baked goods and I can't think of anymore words.


Since I quit my job, I'm reading like a psycho. It truly is my goal to read all of the stock of Austin Public Library. Today I achieved what I previously thought impossible - I maxed out on my holds on books. I think the message that blooped up on the library's My Account screen said, "User has too many books on hold." What it really wanted to say is, "Loser. I hope you're at least reading these books while you're sitting outside. In fact, you're getting so obsessed, we're not going to let you reserve anything else until you read the five books you've already checked out, freak."


I'm starting a new Rehab Program for People who Cannot Live Without Caffeine. If I was Lindsay Lohan or whoever checked into one of those things this week, it would involve a place in the mountains of Colorado that offers massages, facials and Swiss Caffeine Counselors. In my case I'm trying to drink a whole lotta tea and decrease my coffee intake because rumor has it that tea has less caffeine than coffee. Consequently, I've learned that I don't necessarily need a huge tree to hide behind when I'm running. I've become much less discerning. I mean, these houses in the suburbs have fences the height of the Great Wall, right?


And finally, there's some sort of small mosquitoish, gnattish thing of indeterminate origin and they're all biting me and/or threating to bite me. I'm scratching myself like one of those people you see on Oprah or 60 Minutes or something whom you look at and say, "I had no idea these things existed." I swear there's little things landing on my face with their tiny little bodies and I have to swat them to keep them away.

This? Is why I hate camping. There's always something buzzing or biting or creeping, crawling and generally freaking me out.

But I have proof of my current condition!! I've got these tiny little bites appearing on my arms and toes and thumbs (I am not kidding). They itch and they gross me out. I'm using the Costco-sized Cortaid. I'm not admitting to any relation to caffeine withdrawals.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Who are you and what did you do with my coach?

This week I have what they call in the Olde Language a "Recovery Week."

To be truthful, I totally forgot such things existed. I've gotten used to chronically sore muscles, sleeping=coma and a stomach that is never satiated.

Hence, this blog will be sooper boring.

Things I can write about:

1. My new freakin' aerobars I'm getting fitted for on Friday!!! Yes, finally. Even my bike is excited about this. I have this beautiful Litespeed Blade and, honestly, he looks a little, um, dated. I just figured I'll need my back for awhile.

2. Speaking of backs, more work got done on my tattoo (this would be Dragon who currently occupies most of my back, my ass and part of my leg.) Go visit "Michael Norris" on my links and see his coolio new Website.

3. I get to go to the dentist today. For some reason in Texas, you have to go to an initial inspection under the hood by the dentist and then, at a later date, to the hygienist for the dirty work. I'm pretty sure this guy used to be a horse dentist at some point because he lifted my lips up similar to when the vet puts my horse under (sounds sad but my horse is in happy land) and lifts his top lip to look at his choppers. I wanted to whinny.

4. Segueway to my horse - he gets his first refresher course from a trainer at his barn. Yes, he just turned ten but there are times I'm interested in the toll-free Alpo number. Seeing as I've been working in a sh*thole for the last year, I haven't been there to reinforce table manners. Mwah-ha-ha.

5. My goal of checking out half the stock of the Austin Public Library.

6. I'm considering painting this room what could turn into a disasterous shade of purple. (But it could be cute!)

7. Organizing my sock drawer(s), filtering happy underwear from sad and tossing the early-90s could-be-retro-but-not-in-a-cool-way triathlon clothing. Maybe going through the mountain of non-fitting shoes that live under the bed with their friends, the Dust Bunnies.

8. Learn the words to "American Pie."

So, it looks like I've got the rest of the week ahead of me. Next week - the continuation of Pain n' Suffering.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I'll have a Dirt du Jour with a side of small Concussion

Every time I set out on a mountain bike, the Las Vegas bookies get busy.

If you bet on the possibility that I'm going to have a crash of sometimes epic, always embarrassing proportions, you WIN!!

Don't get me wrong - I love mountain biking. The dipsy-doodles, the hopping my bike over roots and even the occasional screaming downhill. It requires concentration, strategy and the knowledge of the nuances of the situation vs. gears.

BUT, mountain biking reminds of a quote by the awesome comedian, Eddie Izzard when he talks about snowboarding, "There's two positions when you're snowboarding - either riding downhill looking cool or DEAD."

Scenario #1: Butt in the air, going downhill leaning back on the pedals, wind in the hair.

Scenario #2: Wheeee! Down the one side, up the other and swing around a switchback.

Scenario #3: I don't remember.

But I wake up lying on my left side still clipped in, the last noise I remember is the "crrrrack" of the left side of my helmet, my left shoulder seemingly pushed into my body like the "diet" or "root beer" tabs you can invert on the plastic lid of a fast-food soft drink cup. (Not that I go to such houses of ill repute, Coach.) There are rocks stuck into my skin like push pins and I'm emitting a sound much like the braying of a donkey. "Uuuuugghhhh."

The screwy part is not that I stand up as best I can listening to the rhythm of whatever makes my head throb like that, pluck most of the rocks from my body, ride another 100 yards and burst out crying but that after about five minutes of losing it having the brilliance to say, "Let's not end the day like this." And from there hopping on my bike, happy as a clam and finishing out my ride.

This, of course, is followed by Meltdown #2 in the truck and a request for the closest bakery.

Oh, and the last two days wondering if I can possibly get my head and neck somehow returned to the center of my body from the unwieldy place they now sit somewhere over my right shoulder.

Today the Wile E. Coyote bump is receding and my muscles stopped begging for an entire bottle of, in lieu of Vicodin, Extra Strength Tylenol.

I do, however, look like I've been used as a goalie sans protective gear for Tiger Woods, Sammy Sosa, the entire team of the Chicago Blackhawks and both the Williams sisters.

The upside of this whole adventure is that I feel like I truly became one with nature and took some of the wilderness home with me, probably in places I have yet to discover.

As for mountain biking (here comes another nugget from the sicko triathlete mind), it represents something to be revisited, conquered and overcome. In other words, I'll be back in the saddle next week probably crunching about a cup of sand (use a high gear but pedal fast) in my mouth and leaving bits of souvenir flesh as evidence of my stubbornness to simply admit defeat.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Sometimes I like to let others do the writing and I'm a sucker for a good quote. Lately, I've been focused on what is now my full time job - becoming an athlete, becoming a triathlete and becoming a winning triathlete.

Anyway, here's some I like:

The success of us human beings remains in how far we can see ourselves & work backwards to reach there.
-Ashish Kerkar

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.
-Beverly Sills

Others have done it before me. I can, too.
-William Faulkner

All big things in this world are done by people who are naive and have an idea that is obviously impossible.
-Charles Hamilton (1876–1961), English writer

In good days, no one can beat me, in bad days, no one can beat me
-Alexander Popov

Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.

Live daringly, boldly, fearlessly. Taste the relish to be found in competition — in having put forth the best within you
-Henry J. Kaiser

We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.
-Jesse Owens

The road to glory would cease to be arduous if it were trite and trodden; and great minds must be ready not only to take opportunities but to make them.

And THIS ONE, an oldie but a goody, is my all-time favorite:

Never, never, never give up.
-Winston Churchill

Friday, July 4, 2008

41. Forty one. Cuarento Uno. Quatre et un.

It shouldn't be a surprise that I'm addicted to the Olympic trials.

I never really watched track and field before and since running will always be something to be enjoyed vicariously (bring on the bike), I love watching the strong athletes. Especially my fast twitch sprinter friends.

It should definitely be no surprise that I never leave the TV when the swimming trials are on as they have been for almost a week.

Michael Phelps, Ian Crocker (go Longhorns!!) and Dara Torres.

Who is 41.
She's 41.
Did you know she's 41?
At 41, she's an amazing athlete.
She's 41 AND a mother. How amazing!!!
And she won!! At 41!!

I cringed more and more each time Bob Costas said this. Which was a lot. Probably twenty times or more but I think I'm going to count next time. Since when did 41 and/or parenthood become such a show-stopper? I was sure that someone was going to offer her a cane to help her get out of the pool.

Let's do a little research here:

2006 Winter Olympics in Torino - Scott Baird, a curler - 54
Anne Abernathy-luge - 52

The average age of a first-time competitor as a masters swimmer is 64.

Ruben Berg - 91 - masters swimmer in Minnesota - 253 medals since starting masters at 79

And you know I couldn't let this rest without triathlete data (of which there is a lot):

Mary Stroebe - 88 (first triathlon at 75 - competed with son and granddaughter)

Bill Bell As of 2000 (when this article was written) competing in his 30th Ironman - oh, wait: 155 marathons, 225 triathlons and two ultramans (look up the darn distance on that, will you?)

Why must we qualify age as the deciding factor as to the athlete's talent? Furthermore, why is there a line that we apparently cross when we are no longer allowed to fulfill our dreams? It's pathetic that age (either under 18 or over 30) is food for sports announcers. It also produces little sympathy when I hear someone tell me, "I can't do that, I'm too old." Who perpetuates this myth?

I wish I could count on one hand the times I've watched someone twice my age toast me during a triathlon.

But what's impressive (and it seems something the announcers as statisticians don't bother to analyze) is when athletes, regardless of age or sport, put in their time - their LIVES - to reach their goals. Whether it's just to finish or to get to Kona. Or, hey, the Olympics.

Isn't the Olympics about people doing amazing things? And it's our responsibility to watch and appreciate and be inspired - by EVERYBODY.