Jet Lag, Shet Shmag

My first day in Copenhagen was a treat. I went to the gym and they were running a special where you get your first two weeks free. So, I have free full access gym membership for my stay here.

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This is the parking lot outside of the gym. Everyone here rides bikes – no one wears a helmet. I keep wanting to rent a bike, but it is so rainy and I am so klutzy (see blog name) that I keep not renting one. The trip is young, we shall see. I think today instead I will tackle public transportation, which I assume is a thing here. Usually Andrew does all the organizing around this. He’s not here and Vin Diesel is useless around buses, which is ironic; you’d think with a name like Vin Diesel he’d know all things automotive. I might have to rethink this new-boyfriend arrangement.

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This is a random building during my walk. I thought it was pretty. Now you look at it and think it’s pretty too.

I’ve managed to start understanding some Danish. Mostly in writing. I don’t know how to pronounce anything though because even though the letters are familiar they don’t make the same noises as in English. I recognize æg means egg, and I know ol is beer, brod is bread, etc. Andrew says I have a knack for languages – it’s really just a very heavy interest in food.

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Shwarma proof. Across the street from this Shwarma House is another Shwarma House. There’s a lot of shwarma around here. I like to think that every once in a while they have a kabob rumble in the streets.

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After the gym I went to a restaurant around the corner from my apartment. I wanted some authentic Danish food. So I asked the waiter to suggest what I should have. He brought me this Spanish omelet. I have cultural food confusion – but it was delicious!

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It was so rainy I actually used an umbrella ella ella all day.

 

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So this is actually very Danish. It is an open faced herring sandwich on a hearty rye and nut bread. It is called Smørrebrød. The toppings don’t have to be herring, they may be cold cuts or meat or cheese. It was really tasty, and quite filling.

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This is a truck full of drunk teenagers. They are celebrating their high school graduation. There are loads of these trucks throughout the city blaring Rhianna and screaming and blowing whistles and drinking it up. It’s annoying and cute – like me!

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Random pretty buildings.

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After wandering around the city all day I was tired. But, I had made plans to meet up with some improv people at 20:00. So, I slammed some coffee, and a Manhattan (to get awake, but not too awake) and went to play with new friends. It was super fun. The ICC is a cafe during the day time and a cozy and fun theater at night. I jumped in and played with a group and then joined in on the jam after all the sets were completed. Part of the improv culture is being able to go practically anywhere and already have instant friends. It was super fun. I will be joining them again next Friday and teaching some short form.

 

I also made it to the grocery store in the morning after the gym and stayed up until 02:00. I consider that a success in terms of jet lag. However, my body considers it a failure in terms of being over 40.

Today, there will be napping.

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Love Sick

Andrew and I have been dating for close to five years. We were discussing this a few nights ago and the fact that we don’t really have an anniversary.

Andrew: Well whatever it’s about five years, happy anniversary, or non-anniversary

Me: ooh naan anniversary is that five years of dating?

Andrew: I suppose it could be any flat bread

Me: Happy pita

Andrew: or Matzoh

Me: Here’s a Ritz cracker

We’ve really got our schtick together. Andrew and I are still going strong and what I have noticed is that our relationship has changed over the years (not unexpectedly). We’ve moved in together, grown accustomed to each other’s quirks, can practically finish each other’s jokes but most importantly (and likely most frequently) he has grown accustomed to my levels of distress.

The first time he saw me truly hurting was in a bicycle accident four or five years ago or so – back when our relationship was still new. I injured myself pretty badly and writhed around on the ground howling for a bit for good measure. Andrew’s first question back then was a panicked, “Are you okay?” his second, “Should I call 911?” My respective responses to him were, “I am fine, stop pressing on my hip.” and “If you dare, we are breaking up.” or something similar.

Now the years have gone by and last night as I lay writhing on the hardwood floor naked from the waist up trying to cool myself off and convince my seemingly semi-monthly food poisoning to subside, Andrew just left me to be and only came by when I called him to see that my cat Widget, alarmed by my mewling, had laid on top of me and started flopping her tail in my face. Not to make Andrew sound like a monster. This is the care I prefer. Take note I am dying, then leave me to doing it.

After what seemed like an hour, I got up and did my best Linda Blair impression into the kitchen sink (I figured the disposal would be beneficial in clean-up) and it really was a close variant of Linda in that the last thing I’d eaten was spinach salad, so the verdant color was close, if not a perfect match. Andrew steadfastly stood within a rooms length and cooed poor baby-s at me now and again.

When I finished I cleaned up and went directly into couch-fetal position. Andrew came by, sat next to me, patted me on the head and asked the first question, “Are you going to be okay while I go play hockey?” See, he really gets me!

This was followed closely with, “I feel like I should post this on Facebook because our friends like to be kept up to date on your health and well being.”

Well, I guess Andrew still has a little more to learn about me; because, as I told him last night, he is absolutely, not even a little bit, allowed to spoiler my blog.

I Feel Like a Boob

1) I am not opposed to fossil fuels

2) I am not the best bicyclist

3) I hate being around a ton of people

So when Andrew announced for the third year in a row that he would be participating in the World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) I knew that IF he was going to go, he’d be going alone.

I say IF because despite announcing his intentions every year, Andrew has never participated in WNBR. That’s mostly because it is usually 40 degrees and raining. Andrew barely likes being naked in bed with flanel sheets and a heated comforter when it’s 40 degrees and raining.

This year, however, the temperature was mild. It was a, practically balmy, 66 degrees out. Also, some of our friends started a peer pressure Facebook group where they could talk about all the plans for doing the nekked ride. I was not a part of that.

Saturday, the day of the ride, I had three improv shows starting at 2 and going until 8:40. But, first, I had a massage. I asked Andrew to borrow his truck because my wrist really hurt from the 90 kipping toes to bar the day before and riding my motorcycle would just put strain on it.

“No, take the car. I need the truck to haul my bicycle for the Naked Ride.”

“Oh yeah! I had totally forgotten that. When is it?”

“10:00”

“Hmmmm”

“I pumped up your tires.”

“Why would you do that?”

“Because I know you.”

My massage therapist, Victoria (who is the best massage therapist ever) reset my wrist, which was apparently out of joint. I went to my three shows and then grabbed my bike and met up with my friends in the South Park blocks. It was about 9:00.

The first thing I noticed at the gathering was that there was a lot of naked people. I know this sounds like something I should have expected, but somehow the magnitude of the amount of people hanging around naked in front of the Portland Art Museum was insane. The second thing I noticed was that Andrew was not naked. We went up to our friends. They, too were not naked. I was also not naked.

After standing around and soaking in the environment (by which I mean getting stoned from the clouds of pot smoke wafting by) I was finally ready to go big or go home. I convinced Andrew that it was not too cold and that it was time and the two of us got down to bare bones.

It was cold.

Also, there was a lot of standing around.

Which was cold.

I was naked in public. That wasn’t so bad, actually.

I was naked in front of my friends. THAT was awkward. For about 20 minutes I couldn’t look in my friends’ eyes. NOT that I was looking elsewhere. Not that I wasn’t. Mostly, I was just looking at Andrew or at strangers. I finally relaxed and was able to hold conversations with my friends. Then we started taking pictures to post to Facebook.

I wish that were a joke.

Andrew “accidentally” cropped a picture wrong and there may have been some Temporary Nipples (my favorite Carrie Underwood song) on Facebook.

I got the courage up to take some tasteful photos.

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The first I was attempting to look trepidatious – which, judging by the picture, I apparently took to be a synonym for sex-kitten.

For the second picture, I covered up.

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Using Andrew’s hand. Yes, the quality of the picture may be a product of purple haze.

We took off sometime after ten, but I never did look at my watch – that I wasn’t wearing because I don’t own one. My friend Kelley stayed with Andrew and me which was a good call for her when her chain got a bit wonky. Andrew is handy (not to be confused with handsy).

The ride slowed to a must-walk pace at every turn in the route (apparently I was not the only, nor most, novice rider). There were a bunch of spectators all through the route, some were naked some were obviously pervy, some were just irritatingly caught in the milieu. PS – spectators, I am not high-fiving anyone when I am naked, nor am I high-fiving anyone when they are naked, nor am I high-fiving anyone when I am on a bicycle – naked or otherwise.

Despite the fact that WNBR is a protest against the use of fossil fuels I had the distinct feeling that most people were there to Keep Portland Naked. There wasn’t much protesting going on, and it may not have been the most well thought out protest either; there was so much traffic caught up by the WNBR that I am sure those cars were burning more fuel than they would have had they just driven home.

The last mile of the course was almost completely downhill. We passed a bank that had a temperature sign which read 66 degrees. That sounds lovely, but coasting naked in 66 degrees is cold. When we got to the finish there was a little uphill that a bunch of people in front of us stopped at. I had to crash to a halt and ended up hitting my pelvic bone with my handle bars. Yes, that is right, while I was not one of the at least 3 cyclists that had completely biffed it on the ride, I did not mange to escape uninjured.

We finished the course and immediately threw on as many items of clothing as we could find. I was frozen, and tired and miserable. At home I got into a scalding shower and stayed in it until Andrew started adding onions, carrots and celery, then I went to bed.

When Andrew and I do things like this, we often talk about how we would go about it the next time. Every time that happened on this ride I would start with, “Oh, next year, hmmmm never mind, I am not doing this again.” That’s probably true. Well, unless the climate really does change drastically and it is a lovely 75 degrees or warmer. That way I could get a moon tan (both meanings).

“Crash”

If I were a biker my nickname would be “Crash.”

As it is, an unmotorized bike is difficult enough for me. In the past two years I have fallen off my bike four times. That’s about once every 5th time I ride my bike. The first time I fell off there was a lot of blood. It turns out that braking while trying to put your water bottle back in its holder is not conducive to staying upright.

The second time I fell I was riding adjacent to the light-rail tracks. I knew that I needed to make sure not to get into the tracks, I mean I understood that was a great way to fall and injure myself. But, the more I was telling myself not to get into the groove the more my bike was moving towards it. It was like a magnetic attraction. I was banged up pretty good.

The third time I fell, my boyfriend Andrew and I were on the way back to Vancouver (Washington) from a Portland (Oregon) Sunday Parkways. Sunday Parkways is a neat summer event that happens on the last or second to last Sunday of the summer months (I can’t remember which). Approximately 6 miles of various neighborhoods are closed off to automobile traffic and the cyclists go for a tootle. At the time I was in training for a Century ride (one hundred miles) for the American Diabetes Association – and by “in training” I mean I had done little to no cycling and imagined that 100 miles would be no biggie – so Andrew and I decided to cycle down to the Parkways and that way ramp up the mileage from six to a little over 30.

We were coming up to the I-5 bridge. To do so, you have to go a mildly circuitous route through Jantzen Beach (a path I still get confused on when riding alone). Then as you get to the path to cross over the I-5 there is a paved trail you take. Or if you are a “Dude” there is a dirt path shortcut. It goes straight up a tiny hill. I fancy myself a “Dude” because I am super into sports and I like the challenge. So I start racing up the hill. I can hear Andrew behind me thinking I was lost and didn’t see the path to my left “turn left, Hadas, left.”

It was slightly rainy that day. Portland has a really bad rap about the rain – but we have the same amount of precipitation in a year as New York, ours is just spread out more so it seems it rains a lot – really it’s just less rain, more frequently. Oftentimes it is damp out and you don’t even notice.

There was straw across the “Dude” path because probably the city was trying to recover the ground from the “Dude”s cycling across there instead of taking the paved path to the left.

Straw+damp = slick.

I kept cycling, my tires did not. I went right over the handlebars in a graceful belly-flop. I tore my hamstring a bit, my left shoulder definitely had some sort of strain that only now in September feels healed. I was good enough to run a half marathon the next weekend though.

My fourth bicycle accident is not really a bicycling accident, in that I wasn’t actually riding a bike. 

After my third accident I still needed to train up for the Century. So I went for a 44 mile bike ride with the team I was on. We hit the halfway point and my back tire was thrashed. We tried replacing the tube, but there was a hole on the side of the tire that caused the tube to go. So I sat in Vernonia and waited for my teammates to ride back to Beaverton and then drive back to get me. That was my last training ride. Two weeks later was the Century. I had done nothing to fix my bike. Andrew said I could borrow his.

Andrew has two different types of pedals for his bike, there are the kind with the toe hold and the kind with the foot clips. My bike just has pedals. Andrew said it was probably not a good idea to try the clips because unless you are used to them it is a great way to fall. I thought Andrew was full of baloney. He was also out of town. So I put his clipping shoes on and went to the garage to test out the clippy pedals. I was holding on to a table while trying to get the hang of clipping in and out of the pedals. After about 7 times I realized Andrew is not full of baloney and that I would have him change the pedals for me when he got back the next day so that I could ride the Century that weekend.

I went to get off the bike and immediately forgot I was clipped in. My right foot was stuck in the pedal my left foot was up in the air and down I tumbled on my right side. I was bruised slightly on the leg and massively in the ego.

I rode the Century without falling. I didn’t finish though. I bonked around 73 miles. Going for a 100 mile bike ride after 3 training rides that do not even cumulatively equal 100 miles is a bit optimistic.