Baller

Andrew was worried about getting to the airport on time what with potential rush hour traffic – Iceland as an entire country has 1/6th the population of Portland, I am pretty sure they don’t have rush hour unless sheep are crossing the road. And speaking of sheep that was another hazard that might delay us. As well as snow, or lava – he was prepared for both. Which is why we got up at 5:45 for a 9:50 flight at an airport that was 40 minutes away. And when I say “we got up” I mean I woke up and Andrew got up from almost no sleep as he was too busy worrying about how to navigate the morning apocalypse on the way to the airport.

With gassing up, dropping off the rental car, scooting across the parking lot to the airport on foot, going through Delta’s ticket counter line and a weird quiz about packing (who packed your bag? when did you pack it? where did you pack it? what was on TV at the time you packed? what were you wearing? For a minute I thought I was on the receiving end of a dirty phone call), exchanging leftover Icelandic monies, finding the departure gates, queuing for tax credit (they give tourists back their tax dollars spent) and walking over to the passport check before our gate, we were at the passport check line at 8AM.

Unfortunately, the passport check line didn’t open until 9 – because the first flight out to the states was not until 9:50(ish). Apparently today was the day when all the older tourists migrate back from Iceland – and sit next to me – so it took a little longer than normal to board the plane.

You know when a Buzzfeed listicle sums you up perfectly, you are probably the cause of your own issues.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/christianzamora/things-people-who-hate-people-know-to-be-true#.hnpVGYplZ

This message brought to you by flying next to old people from Iceland to New York. I thought that we’d seen all the geysers in Iceland, but old faithful was sitting next to me on the plane and had to get up for the bathroom every time I dozed off, without fail.

I did get to see Hot Pursuit which was fun. And Dog Day Afternoon which made me cry. The flight attendant also managed to find  a gluten free meal for me instead of the lunch tray they were serving everyone else which seemed to consist of bread served on bread with a side of bread and a wheat cracker. Andrew took one bite of his bread sandwich and pushed it to the side as though it was fish soup.

We landed and went through Global Entry lines while mocking the people waiting for immigration. Then we had to wait for our checked luggage like animals. I don’t really understand why we had to bring our luggage in from one flight to the other – is that more secure than just having the airlines move it? Once our luggage was collected we breezed through customs with no line and a smile – Global Entry is the only way to fly. Even though our layover is half a day it is so nice to not have to wait with people – they try to talk to you… ugh.

Speaking of which, Andrew has the cure for the lack of Karaoke in the airport. It’s called Priority Pass or Player’s Plus or Baller’s Gateway. It comes with one of his credit cards that is super fancy (so fancy that the stripe is on the front of the card and we frequently have to explain to people how to run it). We are currently sitting in a lounge with comfortable seats, speedy wifi, free food, free drinks and barely a person. When I first sat down I was fed grapes by a manservant (or maybe Andrew put a raisin in my mouth when I asked him for some snacks). I could take a nap here if I hadn’t just drank my weight in free cappuccino. At least if I don’t sleep now I should be able to get back on Portland time swiftly.

Or maybe I’ll just live in this lounge, the food is pretty good and I bet they have a conjugal visiting area.

Iceland Day 3, and the rest

You know how on Gilligan’s Island for the first season the theme song went “…with Gilligan, the Skipper too, the Millionaire and his wife, the movie star and the rest…” the rest, like the two other people, which is SO MUCH MORE than the five we’ve already named so now it’s just THE REST. Eventually they changed it to “the Professor and Maryann.” But it still bugs me that it started off as the rest. Were there plans for others? Were there others on the ship that just didn’t make it? Or were they planning on killing off the Professor and Maryann?

Andrew and I went to Husavik to go whale watching and as he was buying tickets the lady at the counter attempted to warn us off from purchasing them or from getting on the boat. “This isn’t a good day. The swells are already 2 meters and it’s only going to get worse. People are having sea sickness and it’s foggy so you can’t see the horizon which only makes it worse”. It was like the part in a scary movie where people are moving into the house and the house says, “GET OUT” and the people are like – oh, that’s probably not even a thing…

I did go and buy some liquid sea sickness tincture at the apothecary which Andrew and I each took. When we got to the boat the woman who would be our guide warned us not to get on because the swells were 2 meters and there was fog and sea sickness. We got on. Already we were bundled up, but then we put on the coveralls and rain jackets that were provided with the tour. I asked Andrew about how long the trip was. “It’s a three hour tour.” A THREE HOUR TOUR!!!

I decided right there and then that I was going to be the Movie Star in Gilligan’s Iceland, because I was certainly not going to be anyone’s wife, and I did not want to be “and the rest”. Andrew opted for the Millionaire, so I started scoping the boat for a good selection for his wife and away we sailed (after a thorough search with the only candidate being a possibly single woman with the brattiest girl in the world as her daughter, we decided he’d make a better the Professor).

About an hour into the tour the guide got super excited because a bird flew by. It was The Last Puffin (which is the working title of a kid’s book I’m writing – or possibly an anti-smoking pamphlet). Puffins migrate at the end of summer and generally all at once. They left Iceland a week before we showed up and this one had not gotten the memo.

Maybe another 20 minutes in and the guide stated with glee, “Over at 10 o’clock. Over at 10 o’clock!” We’d been taught to think of the boat as a clock with the bow being 12 o’clock and the stern 6 o’clock and all the other numbers approximated between. I was already situated at 9 o’clock and didn’t have to move. But a lot of my shipmates did have to lurch over to my side of the ship. And then I saw it. A fellow traveler at 10 o’clock hurling over the side. I also saw the whale that was being pointed out, but the vomiting was a bit of a distraction. My sister used to be an EMT and my mother was a nurse and they always said that everyone has their bodily fluid that they cannot handle – for some it’s blood, others it poo, for me it’s vomit. It’s disgusting and even talking about it makes me reach for the sea sickness tincture. But there’s this man right in front of me on the ship not really thinking about anything other than “maybe I should have said no to the lox for breakfast.”

Ultimately, he and about half the boat went to the back of the ship (where it’s relatively calmer) as the seas got crazier and the whale watching more intense. We saw humpback whales, two of them, swimming and eating and diving right with each other. This is relatively uncommon as the humpbacks are usually solitary. They would dive for about 8 minutes then come up and breathe a few times before diving again. It was pretty cool. Then, just as I started getting too cold and tired for it all we started heading back and were served hot chocolate (to those who could stomach it). We got back to the dock, peeled off our clothes and went to find some hot food. I was relieved the three hour tour was only three hours and not three seasons.

Whale watching was surprisingly exhausting.

The next day we drove around the Northern Iceland area. There are crater-like mounds that were created by hot lava hitting land that had cold water in it.

These crater-mounds surround a lake. The scenery is gorgeous and my camera is not doing it justice.

These crater-mounds surround a lake. The scenery is gorgeous and my camera is not doing it justice.

There was lots of horses and some more sheep.

Then after touring around we found our second hot springs. This one too was man made and more of a warm springs. That didn’t deter us from spending about an hour and a half in the water. We went home ready for napping.

We stopped by the grocery for some food. Surprisingly, for a Scandanavian country, they still had carts that were Andrew sized. Apparently, Andrew is the approximate size of an average Icelandic toddler.

We stopped by the grocery for some food. Surprisingly, for a Scandanavian country, they still had carts that were Andrew sized. Apparently, Andrew is the approximate size of an average Icelandic toddler.

After a light nap and some dinner we went out on the town. As we were about to leave the bar I learned they were having pub quiz in only 30 minutes. I sat back down and told Andrew we were staying. Over the next half hour every human between the age of 16 and 25 in town was in the pub. Andrew and I were the oldest people in the bar. It got so full I decided the excitement of Icelandic trivia was outweighed by the quiet and peace of the house we were staying in and the promise of more knitting. Well, this is not my 40th birthday present for nothing, it was time for my Metamucil.

The next day we drove back to Reykjavik.

During all of our driving and for some time each evening, I was knitting the sweater pattern that I had picked up in Alafoss on our way up to Akureyri. By Friday night I had joined the sleeves to the body and only had the decolletage and neck left to knit.

Saturday we wandered the streets of Reykjavic. Andrew guided us through research he’d done on the Interwebs and a snarky guidebook he’d found in the AirBnB that had commentary in it such as – if you are injured by someone in Iceland here are emergency things you might need, and also, consider your life choices and what got you into a fight in the first place. Before we left for our walkabout Andrew commented on my clothing choices out of concern for my warmth. I commented on his conversation choices out of concern for my independence. We left the house in good spirits and teased each other every time we had to remove or add a layer of clothing. Overall, though, the weather was lovely and despite his posts to the contrary, I packed and dressed exactly right during our time here. Our walk through Reykjavic was scenic and included the infamous Icelandic hot dog which tasted like a hot dog with bonus lamb meat. I had about 2/3s of one, Andrew had about 2/3 of a lamb.

IMG_2858

The mountains in the background had rolling clouds on them adding amazing drama to the picturesque European buildings.

IMG_2859

Andrew “smiling”

IMG_2861

Icelanders are into their bathing. Not just hot springs but also pools. Our first night in Akureyri our landlord invited us to the pool with him – which at the time I thought was a bit weird. During our drives I was doing a lot of scenery watching and knitting so it was a while before I noticed that not only were there highway signs for gas, food, and lodging, but also signs for swimming pools.

Also seen here are signs for music, Animal husbandry, and emailing.

By the time we got back to Rejkyavic I realized what a culture of bathing it was and was ready to experience it. The pool in Reykjavic is huge. It is out doors and has a lap pool, a children’s lap pool, and a variety of hot tubs ranging in temperature and salinity. After testing out several, Andrew and I dozed lightly in the 38 (Celsius) degree saltwater offering with about 20 other people. I played a game of “American?” and in my head was basically singing the Madeline Kahn song in History of the World Part I, “Yes,  no, no, no, no, no, no. Yes, no…”

That evening we went home and I put the finishing touches on my Icelandic Lopi sweater.

I knit this in five days. Some days I had more time to spend on it than others. I would guess that total knitting time was 20 - 25 hours.

I knit this in five days. Some days I had more time to spend on it than others. I would guess that total knitting time was 20 – 25 hours.

And this is what I did in Iceland instead of blogging.

Sunday we drove the Golden Circle – again, self-guided. Some of the tours were 15 hours long and that sounded like an awfully long time to put up with people we don’t know when one of us is an introvert and the other one of us hates people (and one of us likes hot chocolate but only when one of us orders it for the other one of us and never has one of us order it for one of us selves – read Andrew’s FB photo-blog if you want to [kind of] understand this).

We got to the park where the tectonic plates are literally pulling apart from each other and there was not really that much to look at. I mean, the scenery was magnificent, but that’s par for the course around here. Apparently there is some interesting scuba diving available here, but the most interesting thing for us about scuba is Andrew’s fear trepidation anxiety concern worry aversion to getting his face in the water. We hopped back into the car and headed to Gullfoss (gold falls).

IMG_4042 IMG_4048 IMG_4053 IMG_4054

I grew up in Niagara Falls and every weekend I would walk from my house to the falls and wander around Goat Island (sadly, there are no Goats on Goat Island). I was not expecting to be as awed by Gullfoss as I was (sadly, there is no gold at gold falls). They were mesmerizing and astonishing and breathtaking. We hiked all the way down to them and just sat for a bit.

Our next stop was Geysir (pronounced Kay-sir in Iceland, Gai-zer in America, and Gi-zer in retirement homes and England). Geysir is the original geyser that all other geysers take their name from. It is basically an occasionally spewing hot spring (insert your geyser spewing joke here) and has been active for 10,000 years (insert your geezer spewing joke here).

No jaunt around Iceland would be complete without a hot springs dip so off we went to Secret Lagoon. This hot spring, in Fludir, was probably the most natural we have bathed in. The water temperature was slightly more variable, there were fewer tourists and it seemed most of them were brought by an Icelander. Andrew is a great tour guide. I drove us home – having no knitting left to do. Andrew napped – having more than a half hour in a moving vehicle.

We had a nice dinner at Resto, a seafood restaurant about 3 minutes from our lodgings. Andrew turned his nose up at my fish soup because it smelled like fish. I questioned his taking me to a fish restaurant, and his upbringing in Alaska. Then we relaxed at home for a bit before taking a night stroll on the water.

Today is our last day here. Andrew worked out at CrossFit Reykjavic and now we are in a coffee shop relaxing, and one of us is catching up on blogging while the other one of us is drinking hot chocolate that one of us bought for the other one of us and now that one of us is done blogging one of us wants to go to the pool so that one or both of us can get our soak on.

Then we will find some dinner, pack up, and in the morning say bless (Icelandic for goodbye) to a lovely island.

Tomorrow we have a 7 hour layover in New York. I would like to reiterate my idea of airport karaoke to any enterprising entrepreneurs out there.

Horsing Around

Downtown Reykjavik

Downtown Reykjavik – Everything looks so European

After a pleasant and well needed nap, Andrew and I went off to explore downtown. We needed some snacks for the house and wanted to get a real sense of the culture, the buzz of the town, the taste of the local flavors, so we went shopping and then found some dinner at Tacobarinn.

Icelandic is a very nuanced language. When spoken by the locals it sounds like Elvish (Elvic? Elven? Elverican?). Often if there is a double letter in a word it means that the letter is pronounced with a throaty “h” sound (Takk means thanks and sounds like tahhkh). They also have letters that we don’t have in English like ð, and Ð and sometimes a combination of letters is pronounced differently for example Hv sounds like “kv”. So, sometimes words look like they sound a certain way (and by inference mean a certain thing) but then you find out that it’s something completely different. For example this  is pronounced slip-fell-ah-gid and not slip-felatio and is a paint store and not whatever you thought a slip-felatio store might be. Tacobarinn, on the other hand, is exactly what it sounds and looks like. Andrew and I spent our first dinner in Iceland at a Taco Bar (it was delicious).

We called it an early night and prayed to the Gods of Jet-lag that we’d be able to sleep through the night and feel rested on Iceland time.

Apparently, sarcastic god prayer works in Iceland because that is just what happened. We got almost 12 hours of sleep and hit day two in Iceland feeling human.

Our first stop was to a place called Alafoss. Foss means waterfall. And apparently Ala means “What you won’t find here:”. We did however buy some lovely Icelandic yarn from the Alafosslopi yarn company (I am going to knit an Icelandic sweater while on vacation). And when I say we bought yarn I mean Andrew bought yarn because I forgot to tell my bank that I was in Iceland and I am sure it was a surprise to them that after paying for my coffee in Reykjavic that morning, I was 20 miles away buying yarn.

Our trip to Akureyri was extremely cloudy, as in we were driving in the clouds. Visibility was maybe two car lengths. This was daunting to me as there are sheep all along the roadways and the driving pamphlet I got at the rental place warned about sheep crossing the road. I was afraid that I was going to drive into a cloud in our Yaris and come out on a Serta. I eventually got used to the conditions and let Andrew lay back for his traditional I-don’t-know-how-to-stay-awake-on-a-drive-that-takes-more-than-a-half-hour nap while I listened to some podcasts on the bluetooth. During the drive we stopped a few times and took in the views and attempted to touch sheep.

Beautiful scenery after we chased some sheep around.

Beautiful scenery after we chased some sheep around.

Our house in Akureyri is on top of a hill right above the downtown. The landlord walked us around and then invited us to come for a swim at the public pool. Iceland is big on pools and swimming. He also told us to crank the heat as much as we wanted – it’s pretty handy to live on top of a volcano/geyser. My first order of business was to call my bank and get them to reactivate my card. Our second order of business was for Andrew to call his bank and do the same as he’d received a voicemail stating they were concerned about some charges. At no time while I was using Andrew’s phone or while he was waiting for me to hang up so that he could call his bank did it occur to either of us that we were calling the same bank and could have used the same call. Let’s blame being tired.

We walked downtown for dinner and found a Spanish tapas restaurant called Goya. If you ever have the pleasure of being in this area, go to any restaurant that isn’t this one. The food was mediocre at best. I did, however, get my bacon fix for the day in bacon wrapped dates and try horse for the first time. It tasted like overly soy-sauced meat. Also on the menu was a caramel beef item. It sounded interesting but was basically like eating a cow sundae. I also ordered a house mojito – they used Sprite in it. I can’t warn you away from this restaurant enough.

IMG_4017

I was ready to pull the Trigger on this one.

After dinner we walked around a bit and climbed to a beautiful church. Iceland is a Lutheran country but has one of the most outwardly declared Atheistic populations. This did not surprise me as there were not that many churches in the area. After gawking at the church for a bit we kept walking and happened upon a botanical (Icelandic for “mostly just wildflowers”) garden.

Ornamental Cabbage

Ornamental Cabbage

Coming up, whale watching…

Ice Pack

I get kind of deranged about laundry. I don’t really know what it is, but it seems like the world’s most monumental task. Be it the trek downstairs to the washer or the inevitable switching of loads culminating in the dreaded folding and pairing and ultimately putting away. There are times where one load of laundry will take me a week. I call those times “every”.

When you add that to the decision-making-fatigue inducing packing for a trip to Iceland where it’s summer and a balmy 56 degrees, rainy and windy, and I wasn’t really sure I’d be able to be ready in time for our trip. It was Saturday evening around 4 and all my clothes were piled on the bed. I had just finished knitting a sweater that could double for a kevlar jacket in heft (and potential bullet stopping – though untested), and sitting on the bed with an open suitcase trying to figure out how to eat this elephant.

Iceland is a land of volcanoes, hot springs, mountains, waterfalls, puffins, whales, sheep, horses and, as the name conveys, ice*. Last year I traveled to Alaska around this time of year and froze half to death. This was mostly because I had packed for Las Vegas – though, to be fair, I had gone to Alaska straight from Las Vegas. I knew the weather was going to be comparable – think Portland in the late fall – and wanted to be sure I took advantage of what I’d learned in the prior year.

So there I was looking at all of the clothes I own in the world and trying to figure out what to take, how to layer, how many sweaters I should bring, how would it all fit in my carry-on luggage (I don’t like to check bags, they just get lost if you have a connection – and sometimes if you don’t). Andrew was attempting to offer helpful advice like, “well, you really only need one sweater” which was about the stupidest thing I’d heard, save for that morning when he asked me if he should make bacon – like, what’s the alternative**?

Bound up with the inability to get anything done, I went to the living room and put on Charlie’s Angels II – Electric Boogaloo. Every 25 minutes or so I would go back to the bedroom with a specific clothing item in mind to fold and put away. I started with underwear. I knew that I would need bras and panties and knew about how many to bring balancing a 10 day trip with the potential to do laundry. Next was gym clothes, this got me half way through Charlie’s Angels and my clothing pile. Sadly, I only brought one workout outfit with me to Iceland; because, even though it is a big CrossFit community with some celebrity, I am currently on the injured list and will not be doing much working out. As such, I was not even half-done with packing. Oh wait, also I needed two swimsuits for all the hot springs! Ooh, and toiletries and makeup and contact lenses. Yes, for those of you playing at home, I was now basically packed for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit shoot (I mean Emily DiDonato and I are practically twins, amirite?).

Eventually, I had everything packed, including 5 sweaters and a jacket and was ready to call it a night. Our Sunday flight was leaving at noon and we’d be in Iceland at 0830 Monday – Iceland uses military time. This has caused Andrew to start looking to me after noon to tell him what time it is. Mostly, we’ve only needed the time to know that the grocery store closes at 630PM not 830PM – with a two hour layover at JFK.

We went to board on Delta and made sure to be one of the first in our section – so that we wouldn’t have to check our bags like a bunch of suckers. We scanned our etickets and not unexpectedly, the light turned red and buzzed. As international travelers we had to show our passports. This took an exceedingly long time, and by the time they checked us in, they had stopped allowing carry-ons and were checking our luggage (for free) to Iceland. Andrew can get stressy when things that are unexpected happen. Me, I am pretty laid back and go with the flow. But this time, somehow, our roles were reversed. Why the fuck did they need to check my bag – no one on the plane said they were out of room, I know because I was listening for it. They were just guessing, and my bet was they were wrong. And, now what? Now, because of these two people randomly making a decision that isn’t theirs to make, I was going to be naked in Iceland. I was so angry and shaken. Andrew was trying to do what he could to relax me, switching off between explaining we had travelers insurance that would pay for a new wardrobe*** to cracking jokes about frostnip. It wasn’t until I was seated, buckled in and the plane was somewhere over Idaho (and I had a complimentary glass of wine) before I got over the luggage.

Delta was actually quite lovely. They had a bevvy of free movies and games available. Andrew and I started watching Gravity together on our respective screens. I was about a half hour in before the sucktastickness of it made me have to switch up. For me that is saying a lot, I have watched a number of movies to the end just to see what happened. I still list Hudson Hawk as a favorite – yes I know how bad it is and I abhor Andie MacDowell, but still…. Having said that, I could not continue with Gravity. Andrew continued with it while I watched Birdman; it was disappointing, predictable, trite and ephemeral, but, at least it was well acted – then again that may be what it was about. I then watched Boxtrolls while Andrew read things about why start-ups succeed or fail or charge too much or charge too little. Boxtrolls was amazing. If you haven’t seen it, do. The story is great, and sad, and funny, and touching. After a quick layover in New York we got on the flight to Iceland. Neither of us had slept a wink on the first flight.

I immediately got on my computer to do some work reading and fell soundly asleep after about one hour so that when we landed I was pretty well rested from the four hour nap and ready to conquer the day until we could check into our AirBnb, was what I’d hoped to be able to tell you. Instead, I watched Interstellar (really good and took up most of the 5 hour flight) followed by Tomorrowland (note to self, stop watching George Clooney movies – they are crap). Andrew went in and out of pretending to sleep and catching up on some reading. We landed at 0830 which is Portland for 0130 and were completely fried.

Customs at the airport felt like 1984, the year not the Orwell novel, it was a breeze. We collected our luggage from the carousel (I was delighted and shocked) and then headed outside for a 500m walk to the car rental place. Those 500m made me rethink the shorts with long socks and my “kevlar sweater” it was rainy and windy and cold. As we neared the storefront it looked closed, but as it turned out they were open. Only all the electricity, as in all of the electricity in all of Iceland, had gone out. They manually processed our information using cell phones and paper and just as all the paperwork was filled in the lights came on. We got in the car and headed to a pharmacy – I was having ear issues from the plane ride and needed some hydrogen peroxide.

Andrew has T-Mobile because he travels out of country a lot and he likes to have data and text overseas – which is very convenient; I like my phone to work when I am in the states – we all have our tradeoffs. Google maps guided us to the nearest Pharmacy and I wandered around the store for 20 minutes before asking the woman at the counter for help.It turns out that hydrogen peroxide is kept behind the counter with the other heavy drugs and comes in varying strengths (3% or 6%). I got the 3% by the pharmacists suggestion. I left the store and came back 10 minutes later after Andrew and I had struggled in the car to open the bottle. I’d heard of the Norse strength, I hadn’t realized it was required to ope a bottle of peroxide. I brought the bottle back and everyone in the store tried to open it. The pharmacist then took it into the back room and used the hammer of Thor to release the cap.

We easily found our way to Blue Lagoon through an amazingly scenic volcanic rock drive, and walked about a bit. A quick stop at the WC confirmed that my seemingly over-emotional response to baggage-check-gate was hormonal. We were about 40 minutes early for our appointed time so we went back to the car for a nap. Neither of us could sleep. Too much Arctic summer sun. So we went in about ten minutes early. Blue Lagoon is man made but also the largest tourist attraction here, so we had to go. It was delightful. Andrew and I painted each others face with silicon mud and wandered around the hot water for almost an hour. On our way back to the car I was rethinking the long socks and kevlar sweater.

Iceland and I had warmed up to each other.

I still don’t know whether I packed properly.

*Were you told that stupid story of how Iceland was named Iceland to keep people away from it and Greenland named Greenland in order to entice people? Although it was what I was taught in school it never made sense to me. Like, once people got to each land, wouldn’t the name tomfoolery be discovered? Well, it turns out this was all nonsense (as I had suspected) Iceland spells Iceland “Island” – as in, “this is an island”, which it is.

**In retrospect, I suppose the alternative was that I make bacon, but that was not the vein in which the question was asked.

***Again, hindsight 20/20 (or as my friend Mandy says 50/50) – I would be excited about a new wardrobe!

I Make Myself Sick

Have you ever eaten such a shitty day’s worth of food that you woke up in the middle of the night with acid reflux (also known as, “I threw up a little in my mouth”) which you then aspirated? This causing you to have a touch of pneumonia with fever for the next three days, making you worry about making it to your class the next week in Seattle.

Only you ended up getting slightly better with just a pneumonia-lung hangover, making you simultaneously short of breath and not question all the difficulty you are having breathing. Difficulty that is so extreme you have trouble sleeping because you are dreaming of having to wake up your FANTASTIC hosts – who put you up in Seattle for a week for free merely because you all belong to the same performance cult (we are not a cult! ComedySportz, but we kind of are) – and having to explain to them that they need to drive you to the emergency room at the VA because you don’t have insurance but are covered by the VA and that yes that’s a half hour away (or more) but you really need a breathing treatment. But, thank god that even though you didn’t really get much sleep you at least didn’t have to wake them up and go through that awful scenario.

Then you finally finish your week of rigorous study, get home half a day earlier than you’d expected only to wind up sleeping (sitting up because the breathing thing is so complicated) for most of a day and a half until you finally decide to go to ZoomCare (which, the fact you are seeking any treatment, in and of itself, shows how sick you are) and get diagnosed with a severe sinus infection which explains why every time you were coughing up what was left of your lungs your brain felt like it was trying to escape from your cranium?

But, you started on antibiotics and eventually felt well enough to go for a walk which was a good thing because your back muscles had atrophied from your inability to do anything but stay on a couch for three days. Oh, and thank goodness that company you had an interview with was willing to reschedule, because that wouldn’t have gone well?

Or is it just me?

Weighing In

I used to wake up worried, the prior day’s shot of whiskey or splurge on a fro-yo hanging over me. Did I really have a quad tall breve latte? That’s a lot of lactose. How much fruit did I put in that smoothie? Was it enough to put me over? I remember being hungry at dinner, but did I really need that second helping? Before I step on the scale I should pee – pee probably weighs a lot, at least 2 pounds. And come to think of it, I did drink a lot of water so, probably, I will be “up” today anyway, just in water. I will do better today. No sugar, no milk, only protein and vegetables. I will Crossfit and go for a run and then come home and do yoga. I will drink a ton of water. I will sleep most of the day – sleep burns a ton of calories.

This was BEFORE I EVEN GOT OUT OF BED.

For a lot of my life, I used to be fat. At my heaviest, about 10 years ago, I was 5’6″ and 207 pounds.

I remember when I was in 5th grade my mother having a conversation with my sister about not knowing what to do with me because I was so fat and she was worried. Great, I thought, I am so fat that this is now a family problem. Throughout my life, I yo-yo’d constantly. But, always, I was afraid of food and the scale.

Recently, and I mean really recently – like over the past two weeks – something shifted.

I am no longer afraid of food. Nor am I afraid to enjoy the foods I eat. Nor am I afraid to occasionally over-indulge. Nor am I afraid of the scale. I now get out of bed and will sometimes weigh myself and sometimes not. Sometimes I even weigh myself after breakfast! Also, I want to thank Target for making stretch fabric pants that are still professional (read: not only for downward dog).

My scale hasn’t lied to me. I lied to myself about what the numbers mean. Now, when I step on the scale it isn’t to shame myself into being afraid of my food or sad about my body or as some sort of false motivational tactic. It is for me to use one of the many tools at my disposal to track my physique, health and objectives.

I am still 5’6″. But, now I weigh 165 pounds. This may still sound fat to some of you; however, I comfortably wear a size 8 but look real fine in a size 6. Last time I weighed 165 pounds I wore a size 12 but looked better in a 14.

And what I’ve learned over the past couple of weeks is that I am a sexy beast.

As the beast, I must keep up my food intake and understand that to have a squatter’s booty (as in one who squats as part of a workout, not one who sits on a piece of land until the law considers them an owner of it) requires muscle and muscle is dense and weighs a lot and muscle eats a lot too. In fact, I know that people think Crossfit is expensive, but more expensive than the gym is the increased grocery bill.

I have a booty. And I have thick quads and hamstrings (again, thank you Target for pants that fit). I can deadlift over 250 pounds. I can do pushups. I can do weighted dips. I don’t have a gap and I don’t want one.

As the sexy, my clothes remain tastefully (most of the time) skimpy.

The One For Knee

KT Tape (not to be confused with KT Tunstall) is a stretchy physio tape used to help sore muscles or tendons to heal. A roll of it has 20 strips, which as it turns out is the precise amount of strips one needs to recreate a right leg from glute to ankle.

One issue I am finding that makes KT Tape a bit difficult to wear is that I keep feeling like I have something in the back pocket of my jeans.

I am not really sure what is wrong with me or how it started, but potentially my hamstring or tendons in that area are over-worked and as such have started making me feel like I have runners knee. I know that running is not the cause of this runners knee feeling because one would have to actually run to have an injury caused by running.

I visited my chiropractor, Dr. Dave; he is amazing and made me feel much better with some focused and gentle (but intense) massage. He then told me to rest it for a few days. Having convinced myself that it was a torn meniscus from my initial visit to, and misdiagnosis by Dr. Google, I was overjoyed that I was not broken and, after Dave’s ministration, actually felt healed. I celebrated by heading to the gym and telling my coach that I needed to rest my hamstrings. Then I did a WOD that involved 2 miles of Airdyne (it may not look like much – but trust me it is brutish). Dave and I may have a different understanding of “rest”.

Not surprisingly, I sent a follow-up email to Dave saying that the healing he had given me was temporal (due to my interpretation of rest) and that I would need to come back – but after my Florida vacation. That’s when Dave sent me to the KT Tape site. He only had me do the hamstring one, but as I have been resting (read: working out lightly) other parts of my leg have been a little achy. 

My next appointment is Wednesday, by then I believe I will be in a full body cast made of KT Tape.

In unrelated news, I PR’ed my Romanian Deadlifts last night.