Getting Old Is Not For Wimps

With age comes wisdom…

It also comes with decreased skin elasticity, cranky joints, graying hair, a slower metabolism and hormonal swings that make you and everyone else around you wonder if you’ve gone batshit crazy.

As my favorite crazy red-headed aunt (the one who can drink me under the table) says, “Who in the hell thought I’d live to be 82 years old?” I expect her to be saying that for many years to come.

I suppose that at some time we all decide that perhaps we should have taken better care of ourselves when we were younger.

As I approach 50 (late next near, I’m not quite 49 yet) I’m discovering many things about getting older.

One of them is that it shows us the error of our ways in regard to our youthful indiscretions.

Such as, laying out on the beach tanning in the hot SoCal sun, using baby oil and iodine instead of sunscreen; yeah, my skin is loving that now 😉

But the thing that’s been getting to me lately, is the aches and pains.

I’ve always been an athlete. According to my mother, I never learned to walk, I crawled, stood up, ran and never slowed down.

I was also a serious tomboy.

I was constantly falling out of trees, off bikes that were too big for me, taking headers off my skateboard or taking tumbles playing roller derby (no helmets, no pads, no regrets) on hard concrete sidewalks. I mean, those skates with the metal wheels that split in half from over use were named “Roller Derby Street King Skates” what else were we supposed to do with them?

As I grew up and wasn’t under such “tight control” [giggle… snort] of my mother who desperately wanted me to be “lady” (seriously, I did attend “charm and etiquette” classes which occasionally come in handy) I started crashing motorcycles and falling off of horses.

I’ve spent most of my life using and abusing my body by beating the crap out of it.

I spent most of last week and this weekend trying to deal with a back that’s out of whack.

I’ve been sitting in the hot tub, using the Ma Roller, stretching, purchased a new mattress and got a massage.

When my friend Sonia, who owns the spa where I get my massages done reminded me not to wait so long for the last one because my body has been through so much (moving, heavy landscaping/yard work, two falls down stairs in the new house, never asking for help lifting heavy things) I realized just how badly I have abused my body.

Here is an annotated list of the abuses my poor back has suffered over the last 48 ½ years

Aforementioned tomboy activity

A bad car accident when I was 17 (not my fault) in which the car that hit me from behind was going so fast that it smashed the bed of my truck into the cab and my head knocked out the rear window.

Working on ranches breaking horses and tossing bails of hay around that weighed more than I did.

Thirteen years of hauling 300 pound guys out of their bathrooms (you’d be amazed how many people have heart attacks on the toilet) and/or hauling heavy people and gurneys/litters about of difficult places as a paramedic/search and rescue technician. Repetitive heavy lifting is one thing, heavy lifting when it’s impossible to use good body mechanics trashes the body.

Almost as many years fighting wildland fires, carrying heavy packs/chainsaws for days end on uneven terrain.

A shoulder dislocated by a horse that didn’t want to go into the horse trailer

The other shoulder dislocated by a half crazed, testosterone laden FBI defensive tactics instructor that I pissed off in class.

Another car accident where a car I was riding in was hit head on at an intersection and then we spun around and smacked another car. As the back seat passenger, I didn’t have a shoulder harness so my head took out the side window.

Picking obese people up out of the snow while trying to teach them how to ski.

Wearing heavy kevlar vests and duty/weapon belts (some smart officers now use a from of suspenders to transfer some of the weight of the belt away from their hips)

Rowing 2,000 boats through class IV whitewater. (and loading unloading boats and gear)

A river guiding accident where one of these boats fractured my spine and pelvis (yeah, that was 24/7 pain for two years)

A third (still not my fault) car accident where I was side swiped by a car load of teenagers on I-405, spun out across 5 lanes of traffic and hit the concrete median head on. (the laundry list of injures for that one is too long to list)

After all of that, training for marathons and triathlons

Backpacking with very overweight packs.

Moving entire dump truck loads of Tagro by myself.

I’m sure there’s more, but those are the “biggies” and/or “chronic abuses”.

So yeah, occasionally my back acts up.

Getting old is not for wimps; then again, neither is truly living one’s life.

Some of that “wisdom” aging has imparted on me?

Buy a good mattress

Secure a job with good health insurance

Get a good massage therapist

Soak in a hot tub whenever possible

Stretch, do yoga

Most important…

Have no regrets, it’s been one heck of a ride so far.


Mood: WTF?


Life Goes On…

It’s been a long time since I’ve done any sort of blog update that wasn’t about food, gardening or an impersonal/general topic (or just cell phone photos so you all know I’m still alive), so I’m going to do a regular update. *note, I’m hoping to get back to blogging on a regular basis

I guess we could start with the “Weekend Update” (“Jane you ignorant slut” – if you’re too young to remember when Saturday Night Live was good, just keep moving, nothing to see here)

I signed my new magazine contract (has it been six years already?) for another year writing and doing photography for South Sound (and sometimes 425) Magazine and got that off in the mail

Friday afternoon/evening, I met the girls for happy hour at Café De Vino and had some excellent wine and bruchetta and a great time. After that, Cherie and I headed over to the Mandolin Café to meet some other folks and listen to music. I made it a fairly early night.

On Saturday, I was up bright and early to finish up the basement project. For the first time since I got all of my mother’s stuff that had to be sorted through, I can easily walk around in there and use it. The counter is all set up with my grow lights for my garden seedlings, the craft/sewing table is ready to be used and the brewing equipment is ready to go (note to self, brew a batch of beer before the yeast dies)


The things that are boxed, only used seasonally are neatly stacked under the stairs and out of the way. (the “wine cellar” is now on the cool side of the basement as well)


The bike stable is now in the gear room which I organized a few months ago.

Confessions of a Gear Whore (aka cleaning the basement) 004

Confessions of a Gear Whore (aka cleaning the basement) 009

Here are the before shots of the basement and gear room

Confessions of a Gear Whore (aka cleaning the basement) 002

Confessions of a Gear Whore (aka cleaning the basement) 001

After the basement project was completed, I headed out to Goodwill to find a tacky formal bridesmaid or prom dress to costume up for Carnival and then to Joanne’s to get mask and headdress making goodies.

At goodwill, I found a (fabulously tacky) dress with a beaded bodice, a ruffle and which was short in front and long in back. PERFECT. I found some beads for 99 cents each and some gold/bronze Brazilian leather high heel sandals. To that, I added by “Bad Fairy” wings and was good to go.

Next I hit Joanne’s and purchased materials to make a mask. I think it came out pretty well. I added some feathers to a tiara for a headdress (note to self, next time, more feathers) the fun thing about the mask is that my bangs covered the top of the mask and my hair was up and the feathers on the side blended in with my hair. I looked like some crazy red tail hawk/peacock fairy.

TaCarnival 2011 005

Here’s the final costume.

Here are Cherie, Nicole and I at TaCarnival

We headed across the street to the event at the Image Crew Studio for their grand opening, which was the hopping party in town. Since it was not a Carnival party we got a lot of interesting looks when we walked in. (but since it was members of the art community, no one thought much of it)

Soon, Cindi, Destini and Carmela joined us and then Daniel and Gayle arrived also all in costume. I think we kind of hijacked their party 😉

When I was trying to walk down the hill in those stupid heels (which were already killing my feet) I had a bit more inertia than I was comfortable with, so I grabbd a signpost, took off the shoes (and pantyhose, not going to ruin them by walking on the street in them) and wandered around downtown Tacoma commando 😉 and no, it’s not the first time I’ve done that and it won’t likely be the last.

Sunday, I was up bright and early to meet Bill for a bike ride. I had a bike of his that I wanted to ride to check out the geometry and sizing so that I could decide if I wanted to Prodeal one or not.

I’ve decided to make the commitment to a completely car free commute (which includes the van pools at work) so I needed to get a bike that didn’t have skinny race tires or a carbon frame (the steep cobbled potholed streets of Tacoma would kill my road or race bike during a daily commute) it also has disk brakes which are a big plus on our steep streets as are the super low gears in the back 11-32).

THIS is the bike I ordered the Scott Sub 20 Hybrid. I will add a rack and panniers, a women’s seat, and switch the pedals out for a combo platform/SPD, but other than that, it will be ready to rock and roll (impatiently waiting for it to arrive)

Her name is going to be Xena (because she’s going to be my road warrior bike) She will join “Blue” (mountain bike) “Flash” (road bike) and “Diva” (triathlon/race bike) in the stable.

After the ride, I headed home and planted my lilacs and roses (I am going to climb up the ladder and bitch slap any roofer or chimney guy who even thinks about tossing something off the roof and/or stomping/setting a ladder up on my landscaping after last time-I am still pissed about that)

Sunday afternoon was Stitch and Bitch where we had record attendance. Every seat in the living room (and a few brought in from the dining room) was filled with people happily knitting, crocheting, card weaving. It was awesome.

After that, Cathi, Jim and I headed over to the park across the street for some poi spinning. Becki thinks that I will be ready to spin fire by an event we’ll both be attending on the 19th of this month, so that will be my first FIRE spin. I am SO excited.

Monday I finally got my taxes e-filed and then started on paperwork to take the sheister that sold me my house to court over the roof issues.

First, Francine and I walked down to the courthouse (exercise and errands in one trip) which seemed to be a logical place to file court paperwork.

Oh NO… Only the district court (way down in South Tacoma) handles small claims, so we had to hoof it back up the hill to go get my truck and haul butt down there before it closed.

I walked in, paperwork in hand with 20 minutes to spare. Yay!

Then I was asked, “Do you have a contract stating that you can sue him in Pierce County?”

Uh… What?

Apparently, even though the contract was executed in Pierce County I have to go up to Everett (Tacoma to Everett on a weekday? That’s beyond the worst traffic nightmare ever) to sue him there because that’s where he lives.

I was NOT amused, but there’s nothing I can do about it.

I guess I’ll wait until I have my new bike and just take the train up. No way am I driving up there during the week.

At least I got all the paperwork together. I have the contract he signed agreeing to make repairs to code according to the pre-purchase inspection, all the pictures, statements from the roofers that the shoddy repairs he had done by some fly by night lackey were not to code (and that the materials used were wrong for the application and applied improperly) and caused the roof failure.

It should be a slam dunk. He’s lucky I’m only doing small claims for part of the cost rather than taking him to real court.

So my time’s been spent on: the day job, the magazine job, the house, my little urban farm and chickens, volunteering, learning to knit and spin fiber, poi spinning, and getting back to playing my violin (and once I’m 100% healed from the fall, masters swim, spin class, and triathlon training). I’m also trying to make an effort to get out for more social events as well (it’s tempting after a long day with a very early wakeup to go home and just chill and be a bit hermit like) I’m excited about getting back outside for some more photo adventures as well.

Life’s been insanely busy, but good.


Mood: Tired


In Honor of Brigid


She is stirring…

The promise of Winter Solstice…

The earth slowly awakens from winter slumber…

The songs of birds fill the sky…

A chorus of bullfrogs serenade those who stop to listen…

Tender green shoots burst forth from the frost covered ground…

Buds on trees swell, ready to burst forth…

The moist rich earth waits to be tilled and impregnated with plump seeds…

The promise of new life, and life renewed…

Passions awaken…

She is stirring…


Mood: Grateful


On Columbus, Canada and Coming Out

Today is an interesting day if you look on the calendar or on social networking sites.

The printed version of the US Calendar shows that it is “Columbus Day”.

We were taught in school that Columbus “discovered” America (the first nations people were called “Indians because the bozo thought he had landed in India)

It’s always been a lame excuse for a holiday; you can’t go to/call your bank or get/send mail, but most folks don’t get the day off work.

Columbus stumbled on to this place 500 years after Leif Erikson was believed to be the first European to land in the “new world”.

Just how did Christopher Columbus get the credit? Oh wait, he had a buttload of money backing his ill fated expedition thanks to Queen Isabella and it was all about commerce.

Yes folks, even 518 years ago, the dude with the money and influential friends gets the credit…

So in addition to the fact that the story just doesn’t check out; there are the issues with atrocities and barbaric acts committed against the people who were here (and in other areas) first, which caused him to be arrested and hauled back to Spain.

Uh no thank you, I’m not “honoring” this misdirected, barbaric criminal for stumbling across a place that someone else did 500 years prior.

Another day on the calendar today is Thanksgiving.

Just a short boat or bike ride away, Canadians are sitting down to nice turkey dinners with friends and family sharing the things they have to be thankful for.

I don’t know about everywhere else but here in the Republic of Cascadia we share the same oceans, rivers, forests, mountains and orca pods. It’s all one stunningly wonderful land to be thankful for.

In addition to the fact that spending a day with family and/or friends is always a good thing, I think people should practice the act of gratitude and thankfulness more often.

So it’s Canadian Thanksgiving for me today, eh?

Today is also, National Coming Out Day

It is a day of civil awareness for “coming out” and discussing gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual and transgender (GLBT) issues. It is observed by the LGBT community and their supporters (allies)

I am an ally.

The time where people can be harassed, discriminated against, tortured to the point where suicide seems their only option for peace and to be the victims of violent crime needs to come to an end.

Even more important than LGBT people “coming out” is for the rest of us to come out in their support and against the acts committed against them.

Only when the hateful and bigoted in our society understand that it is not acceptable and will not be tolerated will they stop.

I really don’t care what your religion is or who your version of god tells you to hate and discriminate against. (*official disclaimer, I intentionally have friends of many different faiths whom I deeply respect and admire; they are my friends because they are not the hateful types of which I speak).

Today WE are standing up to tell you that is is NOT OK, it is NOT acceptable and we will NOT tolerate it.

Here’s a thought, why don’t you live your life in the best way you can, living by example instead of spending time and energy hating others?

Your beliefs are your business and you have a right to them.

What you do not have a right to do is impose them on other people who are just trying to live their lives, do their jobs and take care of their loved ones.


Mood: On the Soapbox


the end of the season

Yesterday was the culmination of the (sanctioned) triathlon season here in the Pacific Northwest.

I had grand plans to perhaps do a Half Iron triathlon (and and there were the two marathons I was going to do to earn my “marathon maniac” status)

But my training this year was “epic fail”.

Of course, the goal I set at the beginning of the year was an Olympic distance triathlon which I did complete (three of them actually) It just didn’t feel like “enough” once I completed my first one in early June.

I started out by barely surviving the holiday season (our busiest season at work and the beginning of my Mom’s medical drama)

I had to take several weeks off of training at the end of February when due to the aforementioned mom and job stress, layoffs at work, and having been sick I bonked on the Chilly Hilly ride with a heart rate of 215 (totally sick with cold/flu, stress and sleep deprivation induced).

February through the end of July, my mother was in and out of the hospital and there was much drama, lying, and resurgence of childhood issues including abuse.

And then there was the drama leading up to my mother’s death and the news that her body had been found and all the legal financial pressure dumped on me as the sole survivor. (not to mention having to deal with her friends wanting this or that, and vulture real estate agents)

After that, I got the flu, then I got a nasty sinus infection, then I tried to break my ankle falling/crashing my bike in the transition area at the Bonney Lake Triathlon three weeks ago.

It was a rough year, and I spent so much of it sick, stressed out and grieving that my training was completely inadequate.

I still raced through it all. I knew that my times would suck and that I’d be prone to injury if I pushed. But I needed to move (when I wasn’t sick)

Yesterday I completed my third Olympic triathlon (which I was hoping would be my first half iron distance) at Black Diamond. My 11th triathlon this year, and my 14th triathlon ever. (I started this silliness late last season)

When I drove through Enumclaw early yesterday morning, the thermometer at a local bank read 37 degrees (F) friends who were at the park (Nolte State Park) said that the thermometers in their cars read between 33 and 36 degrees.

That’s just “butt cold”

The lake (Deep Lake at Nolte State Park) was steaming when I arrived.

Black Diamond Traithlon 2009 003

I needed to get there at 6:30 AM in order to get one of the very limited parking spaces at the state park; otherwise, I’d have to park 1 ¼ miles away in Cumberland and take a bus (not likely, I’d have ridden my bike and hauled my gear) to the park.

Black Diamond Traithlon 2009 006

By the time I got my transition area set up, my feet were numb from the cold. I walked back to my truck, cranked the heater and hung out there until the start. It takes a lot time for the sun to hit an area surrounded by the Cascade Mountains and old growth forest.

My teeth were chattering (even in 3mm neoprene) when this picture was taken

Black Diamond Traithlon 2009 007

The water was a “balmy” 64 degrees which sadly, felt good to get into.

I got the snot kicked out of me during the one mile swim (someone even hit my injured ankle). It was like swimming in a washing machine full of boulders. The start area was very wide across the shore, with everyone heading to a tiny point to round the first buoy.

*this shot from last year’s event… Check out how close the buoy on the far left is to the shore (it’s a small lake) No… not the one to the left of the shore, the one behind the shore… We all had to jam into that tiny spot to get around the first buoy (oh, and this shot shows about 1/3 of the swimmers in an average wave…)

Black Diamond Triathlon 9/14/08

I keep saying this, but I have got to stop starting in the back of the swim. I end up getting stuck behind slower swimmers, and there should be a rule that those who breast stroke should start in the back-it’s difficult to safely pass a breast stroking frog kicker.

I had a rather unimpressive transition from swim to bike and hit the rolling hills of the Cascades for what must be one of the most spectacularly beautiful bike courses I’ve ever seen.

The temperature “might” have been up in the 40s by then, but I’m not so certain. I did put on my The North Face Cipher jacket to cut some wind chill on my wet tri suit.

A woman who rode next to me for a time said, “What about that crazy swim?” Apparently she got the snot kicked out of her as well.

The 25 mile ride was challenging without being too difficult. My Garmin shows 1,410 elevation gain, 1,140 feet elevation loss (my Garmin says negative 191 feet of flat. I’m not sure how that works, but let it suffice to say that it was not a flat course)

My legs felt like mush by the time I was done with the bike ride.

I had another unimpressive transition (I was so out of it by this time that I put my bike shoes back on instead of my running shoes so had to change shoes again) to the 10K run.

I was very concerned about my lack of training and injured ankle (it wasn’t sprained but with the kind of trauma it was subjected to, I’m suspected that it would be more prone to injury than normal so I took it very easy on the run, quite a bit of which was on trails.)

The important thing here was to finish uninjured.

I met a very cool woman on the run portion (we also chatted a bit on the bike ride)

Here is my new friend Natalie and I after the race.

Black Diamond Traithlon 2009 008

I actually managed to eek out a 3rd place finish in the Athena/40 and over divison. There were five women registered. I don’t know how many actually finished (the results page was borked at the time I posted this report) but I’ll take it.

Black Diamond Traithlon 2009 013

Any finish you can walk away from right…

Here was the course…

My goal this year was to finish an Olympic Distance triathlon.

I completed three. I even (still don’t know how this happened but it’s still showing on the USA Triathlon website) got All American Honors for the Moses Lake Olympic Triathlon. (I think the rest of my times were too slow to even show up on the rankings as that is the only one I could find)

I completed a total of 11 triathlons this year.

And I got a lot of shiny things 🙂

Triathlon Shinies won in the 2009 season

I’ll take it.

And I’m planning on 2010 being a MUCH better year!

But I’m not done with 2009. I’ll be running the Seattle Half Marathon, the Norpoint Turkey Trot and some of Bob’s uber fun races down in Elma.


Mood: Tired

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