Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Final Chapter of the Path to Being Pain-Free

Am I pain-free? Mostly, just as long as I don't overdo it. Am I as active as I want to be? Sadly no, but give me some time!

The Hip Arthroscopy, or Hip Scope for short, is known as a minimally invasive surgery and typically has a faster recovery than full-on hip surgery, but even so, I gotta tell you it ain't no picnic.

Taken from the Latin words "arthros" (joint) and "scope" (to look inside), arthroscopy allows physicians to make tiny puncture wounds (I got three), then insert a pencil-sized optical device which has a camera attached into one hole, and surgical tools in the others. An image is projected onto a large video monitor in the operating room, showing the surgeon exactly where to go to correct the problem.

My mistake was to go online the night before the surgery and look at some youtube videos. That was really stupid. One that I saw had to do with making the holes and sticking the tools into them. It really freaked me out. Needless to say I didn't sleep very well. And on the morning of the surgery I came close to calling the whole thing off, but better judgement kicked in and made me stay the course.

Upon arrival to the hospital, I was able to meet with the anesthesiologist to discuss my surgery preferences. At first I was really nervous, because she reminded me of the Irina Spalko character played by Kate Blanchett in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. God only knew what she was going to do to me! I had important business with her, and even though her accent was freaking me out, I just had to get over it.

There are some really unnecessary drugs out there that are typically used by anesthesiologists and I didn't want any of them entering my body. Versed is one of them. It is a forgetter drug and can actually cause long-term amnesia.

Armed with my list of "no-go" drugs, which also included benzodiazepines and any psychiatric drug derivatives I met with her to also discuss my religious preference for a "silent" or near silent surgery. What I learned is that when you claim your "religious preference" in a hospital they can be very accommodating. So at least I could breathe easier about that.

The first thing she did was give me a nerve block. Although she stuck a needle straight into my spine, it wasn't as painful as I thought it would be. Over the next hour the upper part of my leg became completely numb. Definitely a strange feeling. Next was surgery prep and placing the IV. Can we say "dislike!"

When I first entered the surgical room at Broward General Hospital--and shortly before they put me under--I thought I was entering a sci-fi movie and was going to be operated on by aliens or something. The room was huge, and the equipment was so sophisticated and hi-tech looking. I hadn't seen anything like it anywhere. But there was really no time to admire it and soak it in. Within minutes they had me on this strange table that wasn't even a table and put the oxygen mask on my face.

The next thing I knew I was in a different location. When I came to (if you could really call it that since I couldn't see straight) all I knew was that my foot was in incredible pain. WTF? I thought I was having a hip operation, not a foot operation. I tried to communicate this to the people standing around my bed (who I couldn't really see) but apparently I had bit my tongue during the operation which was now very swollen and I couldn't talk!

So here I am trying to find out why my foot is in such pain and no one could understand me! All I remember next is someone saying we are going to give you some morphine. Joy.

Next I wake up later in the evening and I'm in a different room. The doc comes in and asks how I am. At least this time I could manage some words out of my mouth. I told him I feel really out of it and then asked why my foot hurt so bad. He told me they had it in a traction device and that it isn't uncommon to hurt after surgery. Note that my foot hurt more than anything else for more than a month post surgery. My feeling is that someone might not have properly placed my foot in that damn device. Who knows. It is better now though, thank God!

Over the next 18 hours my condition improved and I was let go the following day. Before I left the doc gave me some details about the surgery. He had discovered (and removed) extra cartilage that was floating around in my joint. According to him this was highly unusual and he had never seen it before. It actually excited him because he wanted to publish something on it. OK, whatever.

Also he told me that there was a tear in the tissue. He tried to repair it, but two hours into the 4-hour surgery he realized it was beyond repair and decided to take it out and place cadaver tissue in my joint instead. So now I have some "gently used" tissue. It's much better than the stuff I had before, that's for sure. That dull inner-ache that I couldn't get to by massage or any other means is gone.

The next 24 hours were probably the worst part of the whole ordeal. My leg was still numb and it felt like I was carrying a "dead" leg. I was on crutches and it felt like I had to drag the leg along just to get anywhere. What was worse was getting in and out of bed. I'd get one half of me on the bed then have to pick up my leg using the brace that I had to wear and lift it up on the bed. I couldn't bend over at all. There were so many little things that we take for granted that I just couldn't do. At one point I broke down and cried.

My saving grace was that I had help from my father. He was my hero. He was there for me the whole time. It was like I was a little girl again and daddy was taking care of me!

As the days went by it got easier. The physical therapy sessions made a huge difference. After 10 days I didn't have to wear the brace anymore and I didn't need to use the CPM machine. But the three-week point was a major milestone. That's when I got my stitches removed and was told I didn't need the crutches anymore. And, I was able to take a proper shower. It was like "Hallelujah!" I still had to wear those uncomfortable compression stockings for another week, but that would soon be over.

During the next few weeks I had even more improvement and was even able to start bike riding again. Something that helped facilitate my initial speedy recovery was the customized nutritional supplement I was taking from BioTech Solutions (sorry, but there's no website). The nutritionist creates a customized water-based formula for each individual's body. And it's all from a hair analysis. What's wild is they can do it from across the country. It's pretty hi-tech stuff. Not only did I have a lot of chemicals in my body from the surgery, but the analysis also found I was deficient in quite a few minerals. By taking the formula I felt much improvement in my overall health. I think that my formula may also be the reason I didn't have a need for pain meds up to this point.

What I learned is that even though I felt really good, I couldn't overdo it physically. Probably the biggest thing with recovery is you are bound to have some muscle compensation going on. That's why physical therapy works. It works to get the strength back evenly. Unfortunately for me my insurance had ended (it was a temporary policy) and I wasn't able to continue my physical therapy sessions. And then, by doing too much, I managed to re-injure myself and go back on crutches for another couple weeks.

It's much better now, but I am taking it slow. Full tissue recovery takes from 3-6 months. That may mean I miss the whole snowboarding season, or won't be able to ride my motorcycle for a bit, but eventually I will heal.

And when I do, watch out! Adventure-Seeker-Lisa has had way too long of a break from the more serious adventure seeking.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The path to being pain-free (part 2)

After the wake up call from my physical therapist I knew it was time to see an orthopedic surgeon—the one type of doc I feared most because “surgeon” implies surgery. And who wants that unless you are Heidi Montag.

From all I had read about hip pain and the solutions, the most critical element lingering in my mind was that of one’s doctor selection. Anything requiring entry into the hip joint (either a needle or a knife) requires a very skilled doctor. The path to the hip joint is an exact one and if the entry isn’t just right there is a risk of nerve damage. I wasn’t about to take any chances on this so I did my homework before making an appointment with anyone.

Well it turned out that the orthopedic surgeon my physical therapist had recommended was highly qualified, extremely competent and had numerous testimonials to boot. After meeting with him, I just “knew” that if I could be fixed, he would be the one who could do it. The first thing he needed was an MRI arthrogram to determine exactly what was going on.

This is basically a joint imaging procedure where a special type of X-ray technology, called fluoroscopy, is used to take pictures of the joint after a contrast material has been injected into it. Along with an MRI, this allows the radiologist to see the soft tissue structure of the joint.

I was also injected with lidocaine to numb the hip joint. This was an additional test to help determine the source of the pain. The whole procedure was a bit nerve racking but nothing too horrible to endure. I did notice that while my hip joint was numb I was missing some of the pain I normally had, which was a good indicator that the trouble lay within the joint.

After all tests were complete, the doc told me I had a degenerative labrum (a piece of connective tissue around the rim of the hip socket) and an internal snapping hip (a tendon was catching). Post surgery would reveal more, including a tear and an extra piece of cartilage floating in the labrum.

Although it seems I’m kind of young to be having such problems with my hip, I found out from my doctor that I was genetically predisposed to problems in that hip socket because I had a deep socket. Why couldn’t I have been born with deep pockets instead?

Anyway, that combined with my activities and delay in handling the problem resulted in this chronic situation. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from all this is you’ve got to act quickly and get proper medical attention when you hurt. It’s fine to try natural remedies, but when they fail, or don't work quickly enough, it’s time to move on.

So what were my options? 1. Cortisone treatments; 2. Hip arthroscopy; or 3. Joint replacement.

From what I read about cortisone it seemed only to be a temporary treatment and I was "done" trying things. I wanted more predictable results. With the hip arthroscopy the doc thought I'd have about an 80% chance of full recovery of the hip joint. The risk was that degenerative labrums aren't that easy to repair and a hip arthroscopy is more effective when there is no degeneration present.

I wasn’t about to go through door number three. I wouldn’t even consider that one unless I was 80-years old.

I chose the hip arthroscopy. Although it's a minimally invasive surgery, it's still surgery with all the risks. And it needed to be done in a hospital, my least favorite place in the world. Uggghhh.

The time had come, like it or not, for me to face my fear. Part 3 will delineate that experience.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The path to being pain-free (part 1)

Just one month ago I had a hip arthroscopy (a minimally invasive hip surgery) and I thought it would be good to write about the whole ordeal. Although I had been avoiding it for two years, I finally came to the realization that surgery was the answer for handling my chronic pain.

Being indoctrinated in the “natural” approaches to wellness, I had always considered surgery to be a last resort. But by reading the stories of others on the internet, I opened up to the idea. Their stories helped me to get an idea of what the process would be like and how it could potentially help me.

The documentation of my experience is mostly for me like a diary entry, but by being on a public blog, it can serve to shed light on the process and basically just share with others who may have similar problems and may still in the decision-making phase of what to do.

My pain started two years ago while I was increasing my athletic activities. At the time, I was doing CrossFit, was training for a marathon, and had just gotten into adventure racing. I was also taking some kick boxing classes at a boxing gym. When they offered a new course in Capoeira (an Afro-Brazlian art form combining martial arts and dance), I jumped at the chance. It was so beautiful to watch I just had to try it.

One day in my Capoeira class, my knee just completely gave out on me while kicking. It was the strangest thing. One minute I'm kicking and the next minute I can't even put weight on the leg. There was no snapping or anything out of the ordinary. It just turned to rubber. At the time my only thought was I didn't feel the instructor warmed us up enough, or at least like we normally did.

After that day, nothing was the same for me. I started having trouble running due to a new pain in my right ankle; I couldn't lift the weight I was previously lifting in my CrossFit classes due to increasing hip and back pain; and I wasn't able to jump like I used to due to this new unstable feeling with my right knee. At the time, I had no idea that all these pains were related. I knew something was wrong, but basically I tried to ignore it, thinking it would all just go away.

It didn’t.

Reluctantly I had to start decreasing my activity level. I kept on my CrossFit classes for awhile, going less often, but eventually the weights became too painful and I stopped altogether. I wasn't ready to give up running though. It was too much a part of me. And as long as I didn't go too far or too often it seemed ok. At first I could run 10 miles without hurting, but over time the pain started kicking in at shorter distances. Next, I could only go 8 miles then 5, then 3, 2, then hurting even after only 1 mile. I'd try again every month or so just to see if taking a break had helped. But no, it hurt every time I ran.

During this time I also sought medical attention from various types of doctors. Being more of a natural-approach type of person—along with having a general disgust at the medical profession for mostly treating with drugs instead of finding the root of the problem—I went to chiropractors, physical therapists, an acupuncturist, a medical doctor who treated with prolotherapy, and a sports therapist who specialized in Active Release Technique (ART). I even got trained in self-treatment of trigger point therapy, which has a similar objective of ART—releasing muscle tension.

ART turned out to be the most helpful because at the time I saw the doc, all the muscles around the hip, groin, buttocks and thigh were extremely tight and in constant pain. The procedure is quite painful because the practitioner has to dig into the muscles at a very deep level, but it does get the muscle to release the tightness. I used to call it my torture treatment. Although this gave me temporary relief by relaxing the muscles there was still continuing pain that I just couldn't get rid of. The pain I had felt like it was just too deep for anything to get to.

All I could do was cut back on my activities. So over the past two years I went from a training maniac to couch potato. Even my favorite sport of snowboarding—which didn’t engage the pain as much as other activities—suffered because my legs weren’t as strong as before and I tired more easily.

My journey with this hip problem has been quite frustrating. All the doctors I saw had different ideas of what was going on, and none of them up to this point had really helped me. Over time my frustration turned to apathy. I started to think I would never get to do fun stuff again without pain. To top things off, my boyfriend at the time broke up with me “over my hip” (what a loser, I know). But it did act as a catalyst for me to seriously solve this problem, so for that I'm grateful.

Shortly after that I got heavy into research and read up on hip pain. I learned that by not exercising I could create even more trouble. One popular book recommended pool exercises. So I tried that. Even that hurt.

Being almost at my wit’s end I called the closest physical therapy office with the word “sports” in their name and made an appointment. I was determined to get a customized exercise program no matter what the cost. I didn’t care anymore.

When I went in for my appointment the therapist asked me a lot of questions and moved my leg around a lot asking if this or that hurts. He seemed very knowledgeable and competent. No other doctor I had seen had moved my leg around as much as he had. Suddenly I felt a tiny bit of hope that he might actually be able to help me…

So I asked him if he could prepare a customized exercise program for me.

He flatly refused.


He told me straight up that I needed to see an orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible to find out what was really going on before I did anything. He was dead serious and it kind of shook me up. But I really respected him for that. I felt like this was the first person I had seen that really had a clue. And although I could tell he had his suspicions of what might be wrong with my hip, he refused to guess.

Damn, you gotta admire that!

Stay tuned for part two.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Beginning of a New Adventure

For the longest time I've wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle, but was always too busy doing other things. It just kept getting put on the back burner. Well, as you can see from the photo above, that all has changed. Necessity played a part in that I needed another outlet for my energy. Since I am no longer training for adventure racing and haven't been able to exercise like I used to due to injuries, riding a motorcycle has become one my outlets and is a way to extrovert my attention away from the internal dialog of daily life. It's not quite the same as running in the mountains trying to avoid snakes and mountain lions, but there is a certain "danger" associated with it which is what I like.

Every day I ride I know going in that this could be the day I die. There are so many additional hazards that you don't have to think about when you are in a car: oil, water, dirt, hitting a turn too hot, tires locking up, dogs chasing you, and so on. The biggest issue, of course, is that cars just don't see you, so you have to be super alert and drive very defensively, especially nowadays with so many people using their cell phones and texting while driving. Yes, I saw you doing that. We can see a lot from a bike.

I've accepted the risks associated with riding a motorcycle. The fun and freedom outweigh these risks and makes me feel alive.

Learning to ride the motorcycle wasn't easy. I dropped it a couple times going less than 5 mph and got freaked out. It turns out that knees and pavement don't go together very well. There's some pain involved! Handling a 300 lbs motorized machine takes some skill. Thankfully I didn't give up. I continued to work on those skills.

Now I ride the bike as much as I possibly can, eager to get more experience. The first few months were kind of terrifying. I'd want to ride, but was scared all at the same time. My desire to ride though overcame the fear. Each day it seems to get better. Finally, I stopped thinking about dying and just today I started thinking how natural it is starting to feel. I even did my first "white lining" at 80mph and didn't get nervous.

The feeling of riding a bike is amazing and makes you feel so alive. I finally understand how dogs feel when they stick their heads out the window. It's a very happy place. And the thrill you get when zipping through traffic is indescribable. As long as I can get the bike in between the cars I can get to the front of the line every time, all the while thinking "Ha ha you suckas!"

Seeing the looks on people's faces is kinda cool too when they recognize you are a girl. Gotta love that! :-)

Monday, July 6, 2009

I'm a Winner!

OK, so I didn't win any adventure races. I'm still in recovery mode from injuries, but completely out of the blue I won this really cool boot bag for my snowboard boots....the Transpack XT1 bag!

It's too bad it's the wrong season to really put it to the test, but my boots and helmet fit in there really nicely and are being kept nice and safe for next season's use.

How did I win this you might ask?

Well, last year I joined the Mountain Sports Club to get discount ski lift tickets and it turns out they have these random drawings for cool stuff and I won! I didn't realize it, but the club also gets you discounts on things like rafting, hotels and more. So I highly recommend joining them.

On another note, my recovery seems to have taken a turn for the better. I'm seeing a sports doctor who does ART (Active Release Techniques) and it seems to be helping.

Keep your fingers crossed for me! I'm eager to put this body in motion again!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Double Dose

I'm still recovering from last weekend's double dose of snowboarding.

As I'm frantically trying to get as much time in before the season is over, I'm going as much as possible. Don't tell any of my clients, but I'm actually playing hooky on Tuesday to go all day too! ;-)

Last weekend I went both Friday night (Mountain High) and all day Sunday (Big Bear).

Friday night I decided to step it up a notch and got more aggressive with my snowboarding. Well there is a price for this.....a lot more falling. Unfortunately because it's so late in the season the snow is pretty hard packed and a bit icy. Translation: falling hurts. It's like landing on cement. And damn, I didn't have knee or elbow pads. So guess where I landed? Of course, on the knees and elbows. Ouch. You should see these big beautiful purple patches.

Did I mention the hip and butt pads were MIA too? I actually went to get some before the trip but they wouldn't fit in my new snug-fitting snowboarding pants. Hmmm. Fashion over practicality. Not smart.

So yeah, there are bruises on both knees, bruises on my left elbow, bruises on my hip and butt. By the way, don't ever use one of those steamer things on your clothes while you are wearing them. I was stupid enough to try it and now have a trail of burns on my butt to go along with the nice big bruise. But oh, I digress....

In spite of my wounds I had a really good time on Sunday. What we nice was that I fell enough on Friday that it wasn't really necessary on Sunday. Whew.... And I even came fully equipped with knee and elbow pads.

Snow Summit at Big Bear has these nice long trails where you can really get your practicing in. And so I did. By late afternoon it was so natural and I noticed that I was just flying by a lot of other snowboarders. That was cool.

I'm still a little nervous about the jumps in the park but I did try them and will be working on that next.

What was really awesome though was that by the end of the day I went down the black diamond run. And not just side-slipping down, but "S" carving. It was some serious carving too. You've got to get your balance just right or you just slide down the mountain (although I have to admit that was kind of fun too).

Next month is my birthday and I'm planning a trip up to Mammoth since they will still be open. I've already got one person committed to going with me and I'll be looking for more. And no, don't ask me how old I'll be.

I say f&$#% the economy and do something fun. Who's with me?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lisa's Secret Strategy to Meeting Men and Getting a LOT of Attention

No. This does NOT require any clothes coming off. Or even sexy clothing. As a matter of fact, the only skin that will be showing is your face and your knees and you could even do it without your knees showing.

"Huh?" you are probably wondering....

Read on.

OK, I admit that I didn't come up with this one, but the original intention was was for an entirely different purpose....actually it's a sales gimmick. But damn. This is so good for meeting men and really fun too. Well, for people like me anyway. I mean you've got to be kind of a flirt to make it work. Stick-in-the-mud's are just not going to make this happen. Sorry.

Before my final days of my last job I knew I had to start looking for work and a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to do this really random job working a booth at a trade show in Sacramento for a few days. I thought "what the hell, I don't have anything else going on." All it required was for me to learn about the company's product, wear a "uniform" and talk to people. OK. No big deal. I can do that. Besides, I knew the owner of the company and he was cool. He owns a couple of Harleys. To me, that equals "cool."

So on the plane ride from FL to CA I read up on the company info. I studied the FAQ's and skipped all the really technical stuff. Then I didn't think about it anymore. Two weeks later the time comes to make the trip. Shannon drills me on the FAQ's for a half hour. I've got it down. OK, good.

(Yes I'm dragging this out, hahahahaha!)

We drive up to Sacramento which takes foooooooooever because we have to follow the owner in his truck. Something happened to it along the way and as long as he drove slow it would keep going. At one point we were doing 35 miles per hour on the 5. Holy mother of #@#&$&# was all I was thinking.

Anyway, we make it up by morning and start setting up our booth. Well, really the guys did. Shannon and I went walking (kind of sleep walking since we hadn't slept) around Sacramento and checked out the trees. Yes, Sacramento is the "city of trees" and you can go on a "tree" tour which we partially did. We walked everywhere just to fill time and keep awake. We even went into a church where an organist was practicing.

Finally the guys were done and we could go to the hotel and sleep. Ahhhhhh. Zzzzzzzzz. So nice.

The next day we put on our uniforms and headed over to the convention center for the California Green Summit. The gimmick was that we were Eco cops wearing very realistic cop uniforms and handing out Eco tickets to anyone who didn't have a hydrogen hybrid system in their car.

Whoooooooaaaaaaaaaaa. I had no idea the fantasy men have about women in cop uniforms until then.

Not only did it help drive people to our booth but we got a considerable amount of attention. Here we are covered completely in clothes with only our face and knees exposed and yet men wanted our phone numbers (personal phone number) left and right.

Quite a few men approached with "Please handcuff me," "Tie me up officer," "I'm guilty, take me away," "Beat me, I've been bad," etc. The only thing we could do was roll with it. It was all in fun anyway (well except for maybe 2 or 3 or 4 that were quite persistent and a couple that seriously thought I had danced at a bachelor party).

What was cool was that the women just thought it was a cute gimmick and so it worked to get them to look at our product too.

The only thing that wasn't cool was that Arnold Schwarzenegger himself came to visit our booth on the second day, but because our cop gimmick was a little too realistic looking Shannon and I had to leave the area. Bummer. Damn PR crap.

Overall though it was a fun experience and great insight into what gets a guys attention. It's kind of like our fascination with men in uniforms....police, firemen, pilots, military, etc.

How can you apply this? Easy.

1. Become a cop
2. Work as a meter maid
3. Duplicate the above or similar at your company's trade show booth
4. Get and wear a realistic uniform while doing your normal errands (just don't get one that is too close to a real cop because impersonating a cop is illegal)
5. Be creative and come up with your own ideas that might use this concept. Share your ideas by publishing them to the comments below (because I might want to try them myself)


Monday, March 23, 2009

Must Love Snowboarding

It's been 2 months now that I haven't been able to work out or do any kind of real physical activity--including running. That's a real bummer. Apparently I have a locked-up hip that doesn't want to get better. And to top it off I have some kind of ankle problem too. Joy. Have I tried to do something about it? Of course. But for now I'm done spending money on doctors that can't fix it. It's been too frustrating and besides I'm almost broke. Am I in pain? Yes, but I'm managing to deal with it. For now anyway. I may try swimming or yoga in the meantime. We'll see how things go and hopefully I'll be able to get this body back to normal soon.

Right after I lost my job a few weeks ago, a friend of mine invited me on a ski trip to Utah. Hmm, a chance to go snowboarding! There was no hesitation in my response. No "thinking" about it. No "let me look at my finances." No "let me check my calendar." Nothing. Just, "hell, yeah!" I love snowboarding and will do anything to do it.

Yes, probably anything.

Not even pain will stop me. I seem to have an addiction. Or maybe an obsession. Actually I wonder if there's a snowboarders anonymous club......

Anyway, it turned out to be the most amazing 2 1/2 days.

We arrived on a Saturday afternoon, checked into the hotel and went straight to the slopes at Brighton for night skiing/snowboarding. I had never done the night skiing. It was amazing. The clearest sky, a slight breeze, minimal skiers and powder-packed slopes. My new body glove jacket was wonderful. It kept me warm even though it was only 9 degrees outside.

At first I was nervous because I hadn't been on real snow for 2 months. But my virtual lessons in Florida paid off. I felt really comfortable on the board and started zipping down the hill in no time.

Both my friends are advanced level skiers and so the next day they got me to go up to the top of the mountain (10,000 ft elevation). Talk about some scary runs! The good thing about snowboarding is no matter how steep the slope you can always side-slip down if necessary. At that time I was much better on my toe side so I did what is called the falling leaf backwards down the steep slopes. On not-so-steep runs I just kept practicing my turns. Turn. Fall. Turn. Fall. Turn. Turn. Turn. Fall. You get the idea.....

The last day was pure heaven because it snowed the entire day. There was so much powder that when a person fell, they actually disappeared into the snow! I had a couple of face plants where my face was just buried in the snow. It was actually fun to fall! You didn't feel any pain! The good news was I hardly fell on the last day. Progress!

And I fully "got" the turns and could do the "S" turn--the proper snowboarding technique. There is a certain excitement when you finally "get" it. No one was around, so I just did my own little jumping for joy dance. You couldn't wipe the grin off of my face either. Pleasure moment. So now when things aren't going so well, I just think about snowboarding. It will instantly bring a smile to my face.

That's why I've decided that any man that wants to be in my life must love snowboarding. It isn't even a negotiable point.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Taken by Surprise

I am definitely not a morning person. Today I went for a bike ride and forgot my helmet, my watch, and my gloves. But check it out....I brought the camera for a change so I could take some pictures.

My roomie here in Florida has an extra bike, so until my ankle is feeling up to running again I'll be biking instead. It's much easier on the joints but yet still yields a good workout. I pretty much keep it in the lowest gear and ride at max speed unless I'm going over a bridge. Definitely not the same as mountain biking but still fun.

Biking here in Florida is lovely. Especially today. It was the perfect weather. Temps were probably in the high 70s, it was sunny and just a little bit breezy. I had only planned on going out for about an hour, but it was so nice I kept going and going and going and going......

.....all the way to the Hillsboro inlet. There were so many people out today taking advantage of the perfect weather: walkers, runners, cyclists, boaters, beach-goers, etc. You can explore so much more on a bike. I've been going different places everytime I go out and am amazed at all the places I've never seen......even though I grew up here in Florida!

Once I realized how far I had gone, I had to race back to where I was staying because I had a lunch date with my dad. I knew he would understand, but I didn't want him to go hungry!

As soon as I met up with him I noticed this hospital sticker he had. Within five minutes of seeing my dad I was in tears. His friend just died and he was with him the last few hours in the hospital. Liver failure. What a way to go. I try so hard to keep everything in my life positive and upbeat, but boy you never see these things coming.

To top it off we went to go see a funny movie at the theater but it was sold out. Next option was Marley and Me. I don't want to tell the story if you haven't seen it, but DAMN. It is not what you think. I thought it was just going to be a cute movie about a dog. WRONG. It is so sad. Sniffles could be heard all around the movie theater. Twice in one day I'm crying. That's NOT my kind of day.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dating Adventures and Advice for Men

We are going to take a little detour today on the blog. Yeah, I went running yesterday, bike riding today and my tail bone still hurts from last week's snowboarding, but that stuff is boring. Today it's all about dating and men.

Friday night I went out with my friends and saw this poster in the girl's bathroom. I thought it was hilarious. It pretty much describes our basic needs. Well, maybe everything except the cooking, because we are usually on a diet anyway.

But in reading this I realized I have been missing the mark on almost every point. And I never even got to experience point number six. Bummer.

Well that's all about to change. My standards are getting higher. So for practice, I am doing a lot of "turning down." I try not be mean, because I realize it takes some guts for a guy to ask a girl out in the first place, but I'm finding it easier to be upfront from the beginning rather than go through the slow painful process of trying to make someone go away.

My roommate turned me on to this great blog called ManSlations. Not only is it quite humorous, it's really giving me the insight into how men think....or should I say.....don't think. They seem to have similar patterns when it comes to women and having a clue about their reactions is quite enlightening. Because of this I'm toughening up. And to help guys out, I've set down some guidelines to follow when pursuing women in general. Hopefully this will help save some future embarrassment. So here they are....

1. Don't tell her she looks like X, Y or Z movie star. It doesn't matter how beautiful the actress is, we women want to think we are unique and we ARE unique. Besides we may not even know who you are talking about and then have our attention stuck on who this mystery person is that we apparently look like. This happened to me Friday and I really didn't like it. I was related to Tracy Pollan and Stephanie Graf. When I finally looked at their pics on the web, I was like, "NO WAY." So just don't do it. It is NOT FLATTERING even though you might think so. Do yourself a favor, and just ZIP IT.

2. Don't play the "shy" card. This guy Friday night told my friend that he liked me but was too shy to tell me so she told me. Huh? What does that tell me? L...O...S...E....R! We want a guy who is assertive and confident, not a wiener. We'd rather you make a fool out of yourself and be brave than be afraid. I lost all respect for the guy before I even knew who he was. Don't let that happen to you.

3. Alright, so maybe it is a bit scary for a guy to go over and talk to a girl in a bar. But if you made the effort, stick with it. Friday night, this really nice guy from Jamaica came over to tell me how beautiful I was (we love that by the way) and invited me to go on a date with him in Jamaica. I wasn't super interested, but I think I would have at least chatted for him a bit to get to know him better. However, he said, "OK I'll leave you alone now" and left. ???? What was that all about? He didn't even give it a chance. It was probably nerves because I don't really think I had bad breath. I don't know. Translation to me: Q...U...I...T...T...E...R. Not good. So if you start something, finish it.

4. This one may not happen much but it happened to me so I thought I'd mention it. After I had turned a guy down, he started doing this thing where he said, "I saw you checking out X. You want me to go get him for you?" First of all he was wrong. He didn't know where I was looking and secondly, it was kind of creepy that this guy was observing me THAT MUCH. P...S...Y...C...H...O is what that one spells. Stay far far away. If she turns you down, just move on. Don't make a big deal out of it. We'll only think you are crazy.

5. If she tells you she is not interested or not attracted to you, leave it alone. There is no reason to elaborate our reasons. It's like saying, "Why don't you like mushrooms?" Or, "Why don't you like spinach?" Through our own individual experience we've learned what we like and what we don't like and telling you any of this is only going to invalidate you. I mean if you like to be abused, then go for it. But realize we don't want to go there, just as you probably wouldn't want to do that to a woman. Besides it's a sure sign of I...N...S...E...C...U...R...I...T...Y.

6. This should be a no-brainer but I'm going to mention it because it happened. No matter how charming you are, never ask about having a threesome.

7. Probably the most important of all....If you say you are going to do something, do it. Manslations educated women are going to be watching this one very closely. We will judge you not by what you say, but by what you do. So if you say you are going to call her, you damn well better call her.