Certifiable

Every time Andrew and I go to a tropical destination we go snorkeling. Except for that time in Hawaii where we went to snorkel but the rain dumped on us so we didn’t get in the water and instead went to brunch and that is not technically a snorkel, it’s more of just a snorkel-brunch or a snunch.

Every time we go snorkeling I think, “I want to SCUBA (which is actually okay to just be scuba these days as we have adopted the acronym as a word, so I will no longer scream at you as I write the word – also, bonus Words With Friends trivia) dive”. But then the follow-up thoughts are along the lines of, “Andrew doesn’t dive and if we go to a dive place he wouldn’t dive with me and I like my boyfriend and want to keep him so no sense looking for a new one just based off of one water sport … probably … so I’ll just keep snorkeling”

The weirdest part of all of that is that Andrew loves the water. When planning trips they are usually water adjacent destinations. He loves hearing the water. He loves showering in it (there are sometimes 5 showers in his day). He even likes to drink it – in fact it’s the most common drinking fluid for him as a contrast to red wine for me. But, if you ask him to swim in it or put his face in it, or god forbid be completely immersed, his polite response would be, “FUCK NO BITCHES I AM OUTTA HERE”- with the exception of snorkeling, but even that takes a bit of warming up to the head-in-water bit, to include several measured tests of the life jacket’s actual flotation capabilities.

Then it dawned on me. Andrew is an introvert. I don’t need to plan on doing things that he can do too. I just do my thing and he’ll do his and we’ll meet up at the end of the day and talk about how fun it was to see an octopus in its natural habitat or how many life vests were gone through before the perfect floating dynamic was acheived.

So I signed up for open water scuba certification with Adventure Sports**** in Portland.

Leading up to last weekend, I spent the week doing an e-Learning module that went over the basics of scuba. Then last weekend was spent mixing class time reviewing the material, getting fitted with gear for the water and 8 hours of time in a high school gym pool. Mostly the practice was what to do in case of emergency so that you don’t die. In fact instead of calling it scuba certification they should call it “How not to die in the water when panic alarms go off in your head because you are not a fish and why are you swimming so deep anyway, can’t you leave aquatic life to itself? I mean you chose to evolve out of the water* a gajillion years ago, maybe just leave it”. I think that has a nice ring to it.

At the end of last week I called all my already certified scuba friends and told them we were going to start making diving dates. Then I called all my non-scuba friends that should do scuba and told them how much they would love scuba and that they should take it. Then I called Andrew and told him how much he would hate being under water and being scared to death by all the “don’t die” activities that we learned.

Then I spent the week looking at scuba gear porn**.

Mind you, I did not purchase any gear, which is terribly unlike me. Just ask all of my tennis gear and bouldering gear and roller derby gear stashed away in the downstairs “Hadas once tried this sport and liked it for a minute” room in our house. I did buy goggles though. But this was so that I could have corrective lenses and actually see the octopus I would be hunting.

This weekend I drove up to Hoodsport, Washington, home of highway 101. I checked into Sunrise Motel around 8 pm on Friday night and got myself settled in. I had some work to catch up on so I linked into the wifi and immediately found out that the wifi was sketchy. As was the T-Mobile reception. I hadn’t thought to bring a book with me – because, 2016 and wifi. After about an hour of being squirrely and getting some non-Internet work done, I settled onto the bed and tried to turn on the TV. The remote didn’t work. I got up and turned the TV on, at the TV, like an animal. I tested out the remote control – volume worked, nothing else did. Well, whatever, I don’t care what’s on, it’s just noise. And that’s when I watched The Big Bang Theory for the first time in my life.

My thoughts on this show are as follows:

  • It’s fairly funny – which was somewhat surprising actually
  • It’s super-misogynistic, to an uncomfortable level at times. I actually, out loud, said, “gross” multiple times, I guess I Grossed Out Loud – GOL.
  • I am not sure if it is autism empowering or cruel…
  • Five episodes in a row is about 3 episodes too many – I wish I didn’t have to turn the TV off like an animal.

I awoke the next morning and got to our pre-designated meeting-hotel-room location at 8AM on the dot. I was the last one there. We went over rules and an overview of what we were going to do to not die in the water that day. Then we did a tour of the hotel and started prepping and donning our gear.

I want to tell about every dive, but mostly I think it’s a thing you have to experience to really get. The water visibility was shitty (at best 7ft at worst 3ft) and that made things pretty scary at times. I did two dives the first day and two dives the second day. I saw sea anemone and baby wolf eels and tires and a sea whip and crab and shrimp and starfish and some pipe looking equipment and sunfish – which look like too-many-armed starfish only lazier. Mostly, though, I learned that I could be under water for an extended amount of time, feeling somewhat panicky at times, and not die. I can remain calm enough in stressful situations to not die. And I can have very limited visibility, lose my instructor for a minute, do hand signals, share breathing apparatuses, take my mask off and put it back on and clear it all underwater, hunt for octopus with no luck, ascend and descend, and not die.

In the end, I passed all the certification stuff. I also learned that if you can dive in the Pacific Northwest, you can pretty much dive anywhere.

Now I am going to go eat all of the food and sleep all of the sleeps because diving is exhausting.

Then, on our next vacation near water, I will take a trip into it and Andrew will swim above me, and we will likely both not die***.

*probably not true

**what I mean by this is just looking at and ogling scuba gear. I don’t know if there is actual scuba gear porn. But, I would not Google it if I were you. Unless you were into that sort of thing… then Google away.

***past performance is no guarantee of future results.

****I highly recommend this company. They were really nice and patient and thorough. Go to them for all of your scuba diving needs. They will keep you alive (and entertained while they do so).

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Subway – Eat Continuously!

 

The good news, is I think I am fully acclimated to the time change now. The bad news is, we head back to Portland on Sunday. Woke up at 6:30. We both have a mild cold but nothing we can’t vacation through.

Normally, and for the past 4 years, I have been gluten free.No,  I am not celiac. Yes, I have read the research about how people aren’t really sensitive to gluten unless they have celiac. But, I can tell you that my stomach doesn’t like it, and neither does my psoriasis and arthritis, nor my depression. But, being gluten free in a foreign country is pretty limiting – especially one that uses soy sauce in cooking. So, while in Korea I have just hung up my gluten free hat and crossed my fingers. And, for the past week I have had no noticeable issues. It turns out I have no sensitivity to Korean gluten!

After a slight argument about whether I should chance it, we rode the subway for about 35 minutes to an American breakfast house and I ordered a stack of poison pancakes. For the whole subway ride home I felt like I was going to die: with bad nausea, a sudden crashing headache and the spins. As it turns out, I am sensitive to Korean gluten when it’s in English.

We came home and napped it off.

I really like the apartment we are in, save for two things. The bed is slightly more firm than the floor (it seems like this is a running theme in Korea). I am not really sure why they go through the motions of having mattresses at all – it feels like false advertising.

The other issue with this apartment is the toilet, it’s not firmly mounted. I feel like I am in training to ride a bull in a bar that thinks peanut shells is floor decor. On the up side, I am getting a core workout even without going to CrossFit.

While Andrew has been sick, whenever I ask how he’s feeling he says “blugh.” Today however he upgraded that to “mlech.” So we went back to Myeong-dong for more foods on sticks and to buy cute socks.

Then this happened:

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Andrew really wanted this Shiba Inu’s attention, but the dog was a little snappy at him.

It’s a dog cafe. Like a cat cafe. Only with a lot more peeing on the floor.

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This little long haired dachshund came up to me and just curled onto my lap and took a nap – until my legs fell asleep and I had to kick him off.

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This is actual-Andrew petting an actual-dog. Like real petting too, not just the usual tentative finger prod Andrew usually calls dog-petting.

We hung out for a while then went to shop and eat some more.

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It probably seems like mostly what we are doing on this vacation is eating. That’s correct. But, I am pretty sure that I have not put on an ounce of weight and that is mostly because of the subway system. It’s the largest system (and most used) in the world. But it’s not just go downstairs and catch a train, it’s more go down several flights of stairs and walk for a quarter mile or three and then hop on a train and then walk back up those same amount of flights of stairs and also walk a quarter mile here and there to catch connections. Navigating the elaborate makeup of Seoul transit has helped me keep my girlish figure even as I stuff myself full of  “actual expenditure type of steak.”

So, we ate some more. And then this happened:

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “You guys went back to the cat cafe?” and you’d be wrong. Because this is a totally different cat cafe from the other one we went to. And now you’re probably thinking, “How many cat cafes can you go to?” And the answer is, “All of them.”

Korea’s Cold

Andrew’s sniffle got worse. Now I have one too. But we had a train to catch at noon and, of course, I was up with the birds (6:15 – it’s a small victory over 5:30).

I made some eggs for us because it was too early for the hostel community breakfast and we went for a walk along the water. As built up as this city is, there is some amazing architecture. Then there is also Trump World towers. They were pretty pedantic despite their illustrious name, undoubtedly emblematic.

We walked about 4 miles and returned during American breakfast time. I am really glad I’d made us our own version of breakfast and really regret failing to take a picture of the hot dogs, french fries and sliced up muffins the hostel was serving up.

As we checked out the attendant asked us where we were headed. I said “Seoul” and he looked at me as though he’d never heard of the place. Now I have been attempting to learn Hangul and the letters basically spell out S-schwa-uh-l/r (or SUH-ool). So I tried again with this pronunciation instead of the Americanized “soul” and got the facial equivalent of the blue screen of death. At this point I think he was just fucking with me so I just shrugged and smiled and handed him back the key.

The return trip to the KTX train station took us twice as long because we were both exhausted from our colds. Once at the train station we had about 40 minutes to kill and grabbed some soup and sushi to share. Andrew loved the sushi, so I am going to refrain from telling him that there was a bit of crab meat in it – if he doesn’t know in advance that it’s “ookie”, he really enjoys seafood. We napped a lot on the train and I worked a little more on my Hangul. My name in Korean (by my spelling- 하다수) means “enjoy a long life.” Thanks, Korean, I will – if I get over this cold.

Our new apartment is in a quieter part of town than the first one was. It is also right off the airport line of the subway. The airport line is deep underground. We had to take 4 escalators and 2 flights of stairs and check in with Beelzebub to get on the train. Climbing back out was also exhausting. I feel like we did as much walking down and up as we would have done just walking directly from Seoul (SUH-ool) Station.

Most of the rest of the day we spent juggling some games of Words With Friends, napping, checking in with each other about our colds, and Facebooking. Being sick in a foreign country is pretty much the same as being sick at home in that way. But it feels different. I think part of it is the pressure I am putting on myself to do things touristy and partially it’s that I don’t have my own sofa. Or kitchen. Or cats.

It’s possible I’m Korea sick and homesick.

 

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.

Snack Attack

About a month ago I accidentally discovered my new favorite snack. Andrew and I both like beets. They take forever to cook though, even though we quarter them (bake with olive oil and salt and some rosemary). So in the interest of saving time, I sliced up about 4 beets put them in the oven and promptly forgot about them until Andrew asked me what was burning (about an hour and a half- I think).

Turns out, what was burning was the ingenious snack of beet chips. I tossed them with a bit of olive oil and salt and we Hoovered them down like Kobiyashi bolting hot dogs on the Fourth of July. I tried making them once again before we left on our cruise but didn’t manage to forget about them in the same way so they were a little soft. I am attempting them again tonight.

Because of my recent stabbing injury – with my middle and ring fingers taped to each other I look like a reverse Vulcan* which is totally appropriate due to my lack of logic – I am a little knife shy and put the mandolin to use . Unfortunately, it slices too thin and we don’t have the right width extension (about 1/8″). While slicing the beets with the butcher knife I thought how bad it would be to cut myself because I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between blood and beet juice.

On the last beet I found out that was wrong. You can totally tell the difference between blood and beet juice. Not so much in color; beet juice stains, blood runs.

This cut is also on my left hand, just a little nick in my pinkie. In light of this, I have about +3 degree of difficulty in typing and have blog-leveled-up.

I am going to try to make it to the New Year with no more injuries. Wish me luck, a lot can happen in one week.

*Reverse Vulcan also sounds like an incredibly difficult gymnastics move or a sexual position. Wait, I think I just came up with a great game.