postscript to catch-up

I’m sure that my enormous readership is on pins and needles about my left shin, which I completely forgot to add to yesterday’s catch-up post. (sarcasm font throughout this entire sentence…)

I called the doctor – it took me a couple of weeks to get into the University of Michigan Medsport doctor that I have used before and really like. While I waited, I kept my activity to the elliptical and sporadic cross-training (read: various unenthusiastic Pinterest workouts combining squats, lunges, ab work, jumping jacks, etc.)

The doctor diagnosed me with a stress fracture, which I wasn’t surprised by. I think I’ve known for awhile that it was more than just a shin splint issue. I couldn’t even muster up any distress about it, instead feeling a somewhat twisted sense of pride that I am such a badass that I’ve been running on a stress fracture for most of the year (again, sarcasm font). She said that I could confirm it with an MRI, but after some consideration, I decided that it wasn’t worth the expense of the deductible, and opted to take her diagnosis at face value. I’m off running for 6-12 weeks and in the interim, have to stay off anything weight-bearing on that leg. So my boot camp activities (jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers) are off limits. The doctor said that even the elliptical is probably not a great idea. It doesn’t hurt me, but just because it doesn’t hurt doesn’t mean that it is helping me to heal.

My left side is problematic. When I first started running, I sprained my left ankle, which led to accommodations in my stride that messed up my left hip and put me in physical therapy. Now I have the stress fracture. When I get back to running, I have to take it more seriously – I have to do smart miles, not dumb ones, and keep up plenty of cross-training.

I’ve been off running since January 29 and have decided to stay off until at least mid-April. I’ve gained a few pounds, but am trying to be mindful of my eating. I started a multi-vitamin and calcium / D3 supplement (which is also helping my mood a bit, if I’m not mistaken, during these dark winter days). I’ve incorporated more stationary biking – there’s a couple of crap ones in the gym at work. I dug out my old Pilates DVDs, and acquired Tony Horton 10 Minute Trainer, which uses resistance bands and has a good Yoga segment as well as an Ab workout. I have to modify the workouts somewhat to avoid anything that uses jumps or puts too much weight on my leg, but it’s been a good change. I’m so used to pure cardio that I’m pleasantly surprised at how much my muscles work with more stationary, flex-strength exercises, how sore I am, and so hopefully when the spring thaw comes around, and I’m back out there running, I won’t have lost too much.

mostly catch up.

Every January and February, I lose my voice. I’ve noticed this phenomenon for the past several years. During the long, dark, cold days of winter, I pull back from interactions. I’m not mad or sad or depressed, really, at least not that I can identify; I just seem to need more quiet, alone time to recharge my batteries to get through the daily work. I don’t blog or write or talk to friends or family as much. I am just quiet and waiting for the sun to return, and with it, my voice.

Still, there is a lot that’s happened since the last time I blogged, so here is a quick round-up of life in suburban Elysium, mostly in pictures.

Brutally cold temperatures have forced school cancellations. Cabin fever sets in, and so I try to get Miss L out whenever the weather breaks for a short time. Fresh air, activity. Here is our take on the Stranger in the Woods - we call it Weirdos in the Backyard.

Brutally cold temperatures have forced school cancellations. Cabin fever sets in, and so I try to get Miss L out whenever the weather breaks for a short time. Fresh air, activity. Here is our take on the Stranger in the Woods – we call it Weirdos in the Backyard.

02.2015 kensington

02.2015 chickadee

I’m trying hard to keep my backyard birds fed and watered. I resurrected the old heated birdbath that never had a proper pedestal, and put it on my patio table. It isn’t as popular as I would like, but I do try to make sure it always has a little water in it and it has worked admirably well at keeping it unfrozen, even during the coldest nights here. Many chickadees, finches of different types, dark eyed juncos, a pair of cardinals, white breasted nuthatch, downy and red-bellied woodpeckers, and the usual plague of house sparrows have been spotted.

Kensington Metropark is still our favorite place to wander, and feed birds by hand. One day, we got to see a special guy out for a walk. Ranger is a red-tailed hawk that was injured by a car and now serves as bird-in-residence. He can't be let back into the wild due to his injuries, but they are rehabilitating him. Miss L and I got to pet his very soft feathers. He was quite fond of her hat. I told her he probably thought she was a big rabbit.

Kensington Metropark is still our favorite place to wander, and feed birds by hand. One day, we got to see a special guy out for a walk. Ranger is a red-tailed hawk that was injured by a car and now serves as bird-in-residence. He can’t be let back into the wild due to his injuries, but they are rehabilitating him. Miss L and I got to pet his very soft feathers. He was quite fond of her hat. I told her he probably thought she was a big rabbit.

The winter light is moody, blue, sad, and beautiful.

The winter light is moody, blue, sad, and beautiful.

Fat Tuesday happened, and genuine Hamtramck paczki. My hipster colleague's girlfriend stood in line at the best bakery for paczki and he made sure we had a box.

Fat Tuesday happened, and genuine Hamtramck paczki. My hipster colleague’s girlfriend stood in line at the best bakery for paczki and he made sure we had a box.

02.2015 sarge recovery 1

Sarge scared us to death. Being the quasi-billy goat that he is, he ate something that didn’t agree with him (likely a portion of the rubber floor matting in the basement). Seriously did not agree with him – to the point that I thought we were going to have to say goodbye to our big fluffy bae far too soon. However, 36 hours in the Animal Emergency Center, IV fluids, antibiotics, several rounds of x-rays, and $1,400 later, he came home. He was properly aggrieved by his ordeal and spent several days sleeping.

Miss L took tender care of him.

Miss L took tender care of him. $1,400 was well spent to keep these two together.

After this exhausting month, Emmett & I are looking forward to March.

After this exhausting month, Emmett & I are looking forward to March.

which is somewhat about patience.

The last time I ran was in Florida and I came back feeling discouraged. My left shin felt sore and tender during the run, with periodic needle prickles in my calf; my pace was slow and as I ran, I tried to think back over this injury.
I started with shin splint issues last spring, attributed them to my worn-out Mizunos, and switched to a new pair. New pair didn’t help. I bought Brooks, and the pain in my right shin cleared up; the left, however, lingered. It caused me to say no to my favorite half-marathon in the fall and as I ran around the Florida resort, I realized, after adding up all of this time, I’ve been babying this injury for EIGHT MONTHS.

That is ridiculous.

When I got back to Michigan I called the doctor and decided no running until I can get in to see her in a couple of weeks.
I feel a little stupid that I’ve let this go on for so long. It’s tough for me to give up running, though, and I always felt like it was just a nagging, minor annoyance. I don’t usually think about going to a doctor when I have a minor ache or pain. Time sort of stacks up and then you get used to running with that kind of sensation and you almost don’t think about it, except when you look at the big picture of your progress, where you actually are compared to where you would like to be.

I’m trying not to be bummed about the waiting period. Sometimes taking a few weeks off and doing heavy cross-training helps, so that’s what I plan to do. Squats every day and trying some new things like Pilates might help refresh me.

This week has been marked by snow, cold, and snow days.

02.2015 winter shadows

I thought Crazy Emmett, the master of the constant bid for escape, might learn his lesson if he were allowed to plunge out into the snow and realize how cold and miserable it is. Miss L told me this was a terrible idea and continued to shriek this opinion as I chased him through the porch snowdrifts. He was quite joyful and came in with wet paws, snowy whiskers, and a renewed determination to thwart me at every opportunity.

02.2015 emmett pawprint

In the midst of this arctic week, I ordered my tomato plants, which I will be able to pick up in the spring when they are new little thriving babies. I mixed it up this year, and the only type that I reordered from last year were the trusty Paul Robesons. I added 7 other heirloom varieties and I can’t wait to get my paws in the dirt of my garden. It sleeps under snow now, but in a few months it will be green and growing and I will be a happy girl.

In the meantime, it is almost Valentine’s Day, and I hope you are as happy with your Valentine as I am with mine.

02.2015 valentines

in which i battle winter storm linus whilst wearing the most uncomfortable bra known to humanity.

Yeah, that really happened, but sorry, that’s a whole different story, and this just isn’t that kind of blog.  ;)

Instead, here are a few pics of Winter Storm Linus…we got about 11.5 inches but my friends closer to the Ohio border are reporting up to 18 inches plus drifting.

Miss L and I are home on a snow day – my company sent out emails last night telling folks to work from home if need be. Thank God I found a snowplow service, they earned their money this morning, and so I’ll forgive them for waking me and Miss L up at 4.15 AM hollering at each other.

time lapse - left photo is from pre-storm, yesterday AM. Middle photo is mid-storm, about 3PM yesterday...and last photo is post-storm, this AM, morning sun.

time lapse – left photo is from pre-storm, yesterday AM. Middle photo is mid-storm, about 3PM yesterday…and last photo is post-storm, this AM, morning sun.

02.2015 linus front

02.2015 linus street

object lessons

I flew home last night and left a glorious Florida sunset behind.

01.2015 florida sunset

Before I left, I took another walk to try to absorb as much sunshine as I could, and added some birdwatching to the mix. It’s always fun for me to see different birds in different places, although I wore my iPhone battery down trying to Google ‘small brown bird with yellow butt’. It made for some dicey moments standing in line to have my boarding pass scanned at the gate (I use the Delta app on my phone and I kept wondering if anyone has ever had their phone die before they could have their electronic boarding pass scanned…this is the kind of thing that would happen to me.)

This white ibis was pretty easy to ID and he was a fine looking fellow. There were a couple of other wading birds that were more difficult, it’s hard for me to distinguish egrets from herons from cranes and it began to interfere with my attentiveness to the final bits of my seminar so I finally gave up.

01.2015 florida ibis

And of course there were the usual flocks of house sparrows, a brown plague that has taken over my own yard at home. But I couldn’t resist this picture – they were all sitting around the table at the Trattoria at the Disney Boardwalk looking expectant and vaguely European.

01.2015 florida sparrows

My seminar was quite large, almost 300 people, and when you attend these types of events, there are funny little behaviors that emerge. You find yourself sitting next to the same people every day, you quickly establish your cliques. People network and chat and swap business cards and I am wretched at all of this. I sit in the front row where no one else wants to sit and I try not to make eye contact with people. I don’t like small talk or chatting, it makes me nervous. I always forget my business cards and I tend to be focused on consuming as many of the free meals and snacks as possible in the shortest amount of time and then fleeing to somewhere quiet. (I also stockpile pens at these seminars. For some reason my pen jar at home tends to be filled with dry markers and useless highlighters and small screwdrivers and broken-tipped pencils, everything except pens that work. I found these Disney resort pens quite satisfactory.)

The sunshine and birdwatching opportunities made my lack of desire to network at breaks even more prominent, as did the fact that I started reading George R.R. Martin’s “A Feast for Crows” on my Kindle during the flight down. I’m so absorbed in this book that I want to read it straight through and I feel a little dazed when I look up from the pages. I spent many a break hiding in a sunny corner poring over the pages. To be sure, this makes me feel guilty. When my company sends me to a seminar, I’m on the clock, so I really shouldn’t be sneaking away, even on scheduled breaks, to read or play or absorb sunshine.

So when I pondered skipping the last day lunch and heading to the airport to try for an earlier flight, I thought better of it. I girded my loins and hit the buffet and found a new place to sit and before I quite knew what had happened, one of the panel speakers sat down next to me and then another and then two board members on the other side. The first panel speaker started talking to me and quickly we were laughing and he introduced me to the other speakers and board members. I felt like the new kid at school who suddenly finds herself at the cool kid table. I came away with a pack of business cards and promises of LinkedIn invitations and guidance on which chapter I should join, feeling stunned. I told myself sternly that this is an object lesson – 45 minutes at a lunch table and I made great contacts that my boss would appreciate. Those 45 minutes of somewhat painful socializing probably had greater benefit than the prior 2 days of seminar materials and skulking. I was proud of myself and so I had Pinkberry at the airport to reward myself.

It was about 18 F. in Detroit and the airport was full of tired commuters, ready to be home with their families. It was so nice to be home, cold notwithstanding, and Emmett & Sarge piled onto my lap on the couch while I ate pasta late at night and finished watching ‘Broadchurch’. (What do we think about mysteries that end with the killer being someone entirely unexpected? Do we feel impressed at their cleverness or do we feel a bit put out that we aren’t given the proper clues to solve it ourselves?)

And now, Winter Storm Linus. For fuck’s sake.

facade

I know that Disney is a painted face, a glitter of fake rhinestones and paste, but it imitates a life that people want. It is sunny here and my happy meter has climbed with the periodic absorption of vitamin D in natural light that I can absorb in snatches between seminar topics.
I ran this evening along the Boardwalk in the faded light and had a lone dinner at a bar, reading on my Kindle and feeling as happy as it is possible to be in solitude.

I shopped for Miss L and missed her badly and felt that no one should be at Disney without their little person.
So I had a glass of wine at a quiet tucked away corner of the resort, a pseudo 1940s lounge, and I read again while lounging in a cracked leather wing chair. My heels were loud on the board floors and someone was wearing cologne that reminded me of someone else. I listened to a faux wireless replay old radio programmes; eavesdropping casually and disinterestedly on my fellow drinkers.
Someone said to someone else, ‘of all the gin joints…’ Somebody else said, ‘everyone I want to talk to is right here.’ And it sounded perfectly fitting.

Maybe someday when I am old and my responsibilities are discharged, I will move to Disney and be a bartender or a concierge, and take a part in this happy facade.

IMG_2466

In the meantime

01.2015 commute

So, it’s not as bad as last year. Really. By comparison, this is just a normal January. There are some nasty commutes, and it’s tough to get enough vitamin D during the short dark days. But the light is creeping back, slowly but surely, and our little household is doing pretty well now.

I did well with my workouts this week. I ran only three times, still favoring my left shin, which has a tendency towards tenderness if I ramp up too quickly on miles. I’m wondering if it’s time to bite the bullet and go see a doctor about this left shin. But I did some good cross-training and today I hope to get in a good Pilates session with one of my DVD’s. I’m incentivizing myself with Serial on podcast during my workouts. I’m one of the Luddites who has just discovered podcasts and I love them for working out, because it keeps my mind engaged during an otherwise boring intellectual time. Podcasts made me realize, though, that I need a good pair of wireless headphones, since my iPhone 6 is fussy about what type of headphones it will accept, and my ears are as well.

So overall I’m feeling pretty fit this week, despite Sarge’s reluctance to part with my workout bag in the morning…

01.2015 sarge workout bag

January is a big birthday month in my family, so yesterday Miss L & I drove to my brother & sister-in-law’s house to meet up for a collective celebration. My SIL loves entertaining, and we love being entertained, so there was slow cooked pork tenderloin, two kinds of birthday cake, ice cream, and sledding.

01.2015 sledding

My mom got new hiking boots, and we reminisced about hiking the Old Indian Trail in the Sleeping Bear over Christmas. It made me homesick. When I got home that night, there was a post from the Sleeping Bear on FB about the Trail Trekker Challenge which seemed like a sign that I need to get back up north soon to start filling in my logbook. Not soon, though, as I am headed off next week to sunnier climes. It’s for a somewhat draining and dull-sounding business seminar, but I am excited to be able to sit outside for some time each day and get some proper natural light. Sometimes my goals are modest indeed.

In the meantime, here is what Sunday looks like in command central (i.e. my bed) – two girls, a cat, a laptop, and a Furby.

01.2015 sundays

Hope yours is as relaxing.