Thursday, July 29, 2010

Smelling the Roses

You know those days - where you feel like you're in a complete time warp? And Monday becomes Thursday which turns back to Tuesday and the weekend feels like a Wednesday and it's just NOT good all around? Story of my life lately, story of my life.

But when you loose people that are dear to you, and are first-hand witness to the aftermath, it doesn't make anything feel any easier or better. On Tuesday, Governor Schwarzenegger issued the following statement:
"The deaths of Lieutenant Colonel Mario Carazo and Major James Weis are tragic losses for this country. They devoted themselves to serving our nation with honor and integrity, and their selfless sacrifices will never be forgotten. On behalf of all Californians, Maria and I extend our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of these brave Marines."

Carazo, 41, and Weis, 37, died July 22 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. They were assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, U.S. Marine Corps, Camp Pendleton, CA.

In honor of Lt. Col. Carazo and Maj. Weis, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

To say that triathlon, or my lack of racing has been at the back of my mind, would be a HUGE understatement. True, this is the life that Nathaniel and I lead - and while we understand that there are risks associated with his profession, it doesn't make it any easier. I've seen things that I never - not in a million years - thought I would see first hand. And as hard as this is for me and all of my military friends out here, I know that what we are enduring is nothing compared to the families of Wiesel and Sugar Bear.

After five days of grief and pain, I told Nathaniel I was going for a run. He raised his eyebrows but didn't stop me. Clearly, he didn't think a wayward clot would finish me off. So... I made my escape and ran.

Along the way I:

-Greeted the lady watering her flowers and commented about how beautiful they looked.

-Waited for old people to walk first and THEN run around them. I wasn't in a hurry.

-Stopped to look at the ocean, the surfers, riding the waves, and marvled at the fact that - in spite of the Totally Shitty Time right now - the waves will continue to tickle the sand, the sun will continue to rise and set.

-Looked longingly at the people drinking and laughing at one of the pubs in Carlsbad. Not only because they were drinking (what I wouldn't do for a Salty Margarita right about now) - but because they were laughing and having fun....carefree and oblivious to the Totally Shitty Time that I, and other people affiliated with this situation are dealing with.

-Deliberately left my watch at home and just ran by feel. It felt great.

-I smiled at people and made eye contact, in stead of inwardly focusing on the specific point of my run.

-I stopped and smelled the house had a BEAUTIFUL rose bush. So I stopped. And smelled it - perfect.

-I did NOT run through the yellow light and instead waited a few minutes for the next green.

-And finally, even though it was my first run in four weeks since the Pulminary Embolism, I was happy to be running, and grateful for all the friends and family support. I don't talk a lot about Nathaniel's military "stuff" (for lack of a better word) on my blog, mainly because this is about triathlon, training, and my own creative outlet.

But if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: Hug your loved ones, tell your friends that you love them - because you just never know what life will bring. And always always always, stop and smell the roses.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Awesome Animal Encounters

I was out at dinner tonight with a few good friends - Mer, Jen, Stacy, and Jess, who are ALL very aware of my Fear-Of-Being-Eaten-While-Training "issue". Ahem. It is so prevalent at the forefront of my mind, that while Jess was telling stories of running 4 miles during her recent trip to Africa, I couldn't get past the point that she was running 4 miles through Lion Infested Areas.

I think she laughed when I inquired about shot guns and bear spray.

Um.. for the record - I was being TOTALLY SERIOUS.

It would be fitting, then, that upon arriving home from dinner, I would find an email from Grandpa L. with the images below. I particularly enjoyed the Hippo shot - where it looks like the hippo is actually moving fast. Wow - that's some pretty good knee flexion, that is.

Is it me, or is this a Devil Bird?Thank God for Rock Walls and REI.

Um....If it's snout is the size of your ENTIRE probably should NOT be pointing at it.

Chinese Fire Drill--The Polar Bear Version.

Wow. The LAST animal I thought would ever stalk someone from the bush - is the hippo.Clearly, I was wrong. (But seriously - you have to admire BOTH beings form. I mean...for a hippo, he/she looks pretty good).

Honk!Sadly, this has happened to me.

Dude - that bear is SO not going into that cage.Hopefully it can't climb car.

Not everyone likes to be filmedI guess his feathers were ruffled.

Okay - I'm REALLY sorry for that. It's the coumadin.

Um....perhaps there's something fishy with the car.LOTS of House Monsters!

Sometimes you just have to stand up and applaud the Kangaroo. There are times in my life where I have NOT wanted my picture taken.What I wouldn't give for a pouch and extra long legs.

And before you get your knickers in a twist - there were NO Mountain Lion, Shark, OR Snake pictures in here. let's keep it that way. Unless, of course, we're talking about the Cement Sharks. Yeah - we already know about those guys.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Cardiff Shark

Apparently, we're not even safe on land. I knew it! I just knew it!

In what's being dubbed as the best spoof on the 3-year surfing statue in Cardiff-by-the-Sea yet, practical jokers surrounded the controversial monument with a paper mache shark. And while the surfer IS life sized, I certainly hope the shark is not. Otherwise we have much MUCH bigger problems.

And then, there's that attacking through the cement thing. Yeah, that too.

During a week when I needed a laugh, this was it. Awesome.

I won't - however - be watching "Shark Week" on Discovery Channel. Some things should be left to the imagination, I think. Then again, knowing me - my imagination can often be worse than the real thing.

Because, as demonstrated above, they can attack through concrete. As my friend Dave wrote on my FaceBook wall a while back, "If you're attacked by a shark while running along the beach, you've just got to tip your hat and say 'Well played, sir!'"

Well played, indeed.

BRAVO to the creators of Bruce going after the Cardiff Kook!

Friday, July 23, 2010


Nothing in life can prepare us for loss. We wake up one day, doing totally normal things and suddenly - out of the blue - WHAM! Change. Big Change. Something is different - and it's usually not for the better. Part of life is being able to deal with the Total Shit Times. And that's different for us all -

We all have those moments where life seems to pull the rug out from under us. And, like with any previous experience, we pick ourselves up, assess the damage, shake ourselves out, and slowly return to "normal" life - whatever that is.

Dealing with the DVT and PE has been tough, and I've had to make some major adjustments to my lifestyle and expectations. But that's okay - yes, I'm upset. But I'm also doing what I need to do in order to survive. And deep down, I know that I'm extremely lucky - that other people won't ever get that second chance.

So - be sure to hug your spouse, your kids, your loved ones, friends, and yes, even your own House Monsters - extra tight today. Because you just never know what life will bring.

Sempre Fi! We will remember them, always -

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The lagest and greatest - (and giving the Book of Face a run for it's money)

It has been exactly nine days since my last blog, and as someone who loves writing, photography, sports, and all things creative - this, for all practical purposes, is blasphemy. However, I'm still alive, still kicking, and in spite of a brief return to the hospital, the clot hasn't finished me off.


Now that my folks are gone, Nathaniel is out flying, and the House Monsters are doing their thing, I feel like I can finally begin to put the pieces together and catch up with life.

And yes, I could probably write a really really really long blog post about my experiences this past week (and change!) - but I'll save you (and ME!) the trouble and instead give a "status update" play-by-play a la Book of Face. Yes, there will be some pictures. Enjoy!

Status Update: NO, I don't know why I've been so sick this year - but I can promise that I DID NOT steal a lava rock.

Status Update: Along with my race season, I have lost my ability to filter all thoughts and inappropriate comments. But...I also say nice things that I wouldn't normally say - like, "OH MY GOSH I LOVE YOUR DRESS!". The lady at Target was a little surprised...

Status Update: Even though I'm smiling, my non-alcoholic beer still tastes like non-alcoholic beer. And for the life of me, I just can't call it Near Beer.
Status Update: In an effort to capture a face shot of herself and my Dad, my Mom took a GREAT picture. Mouths NOT included...(neither are smiles - but this picture was just too good to pass)
Status Update: This seal has more flexibility than me. But I still won't go swimming in the ocean. Just because of, well, you know.
Status Update: I got dropped by my Dad on a Power Walk. Seriously - this was the LAST image I had before he was way ahead of me up the beach.
Status Update: However, with Nathaniel my Dad took a more leisurely pace...perhaps it was the daily Svacina of Gentlemen Jack that prompted this promenade? As I cannot drink alcohol until my INR numbers stabilize, I do not know...But I AM so very grateful that my hubby and father get along. Um, that would be very difficult if they didn't....
Status Update: The mission at San Juan Cappistrano is BEAUTIFUL, and visiting it was awesome. You know what? Sometimes it feels like I need all the help I can get -
Status Update: My parents will do funny things when prompted!
Status Update: No, we, the Gunfighter Gals are NOT sponsored by Red Cup Frozen Yogurt. We just love the stuff! *But would accept sponsorship at any time*
Status Update: Sure, I was scared shitless the first time I got back in the pool post DVT/PE. BUT. But. but. Swimming with friends makes all the difference in the world.
Status Update: DO NOT tell the lifeguard just before entering the water that you just survived a major DVT/PE. Because he will spend the next ____________ amount of time watching you like a hawk. Seriously - I could NOT pee in the pool, just because I was sure he would spot something funny. (And YES, I DO have doctor's permission for physical activity AS LONG AS I FEEL OKAY).

Status Update: I will hug my doctor when I see her for the first time after getting out of the hospital. And then I will hug her again when she says that I can ride my bike on the trainer.

Status Update: Not that my parents want grand kids or anything...But they do. And no, we didn't steal a kid off the street. Instead, Meredith and Soren met us for lunch - WONDERFUL! Soren was the entertainment. Not that Nathaniel and I feel any pressure. And seriously, kids are the LAST thing on our minds (especially now that I'm on blood thinners and dealing with fat foot). But still.... I'm getting that tic tock vibe from The Parents. (especially when they look lovingly at anything that moves and is under 20 pounds. minus the house monsters, of course).

Status Update: The IKEA Fairy made a visit to our house, after Shitty Kitty pee peed all over cloths that were left on the floor. I flipped out, Nathaniel remained oddly calm, Mom helped with the clean-up, and Dad willingly agreed to help dispose of old furniture. The grin is BEFORE we spent $700 on new clothes storage system.
Status Update: Indeed, it is possible to cram nearly $700 worth of IKEA furniture into a 2003 Toyota Camry. Possible, but not pretty. But still - possible.
Status Update: I'm too impatient to organize everything to build furniture. My way...
Status Update: My helicopter-flying husband on the other hand, was extremely methodical. And then he built an 8 drawer dresser in under 2.5 hours. Humph. I told him the wardrobe was mine...

Status Update: My helicopter flying husband also burnt out the clutch on our 1995 Carolla - how he manages to fly something with pedals, yet kill our stick shift, is beyond me. However, after driving a friend's jeep - I AM SOLD on a wrangler. Definitely not practical, not kid-friendly, not exactly bike transporting friendly, and not gas mileage friendly...but a hell of a lot of fun. We are contemplating....
Status Update: My super secret superpower identity as a Gunfighter Gal is revealed. I guess Non-Alcoholic beer DOES affect me. And no - I'm not about to flash the camera.
Status Update: Yes, I live in Southern California, where people feel the need to strap their giant poodles into the back of their mini cooper convertibles.
Status Update: The May Grey/June Gloom has returned....yet coffee stops with loved ones, is the BEST THING EVER!
So...that's it for now. My folks left early this morning, and Nathaniel is flying somewhere around Joshua Tree and 29-er Palms today. My goals include a light spin on the trainer, violin practice, and of course - finishing the wardrobe. Yes, my Other Half has offered to help - but the competitor in me (which just won't go away, in spite of the clots), wants to see if I can get this done.

(Also - I'm still working on emails and thank you notes....a constant work in progress that I'm so grateful to do....If I haven't yet thanked YOU - please know that you, my friends, have made all the difference while going through this life changing event.)

Sure - We may have the oddest functioning wardrobe EVER. will still be a wardrobe that I built. Nothing is perfect, right? So in the interim, perhaps I'll skip the ride, skip the violin work, and head straight to construction while passing GO and collecting $200. Yeah, I like the sound of that.

Status Update: Wardrobe construction - here we go!And I even have a helper....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Telephone Pole Hill, July

Another month has passed, and in effort to prove to myself that Southern California does indeed have seasons (although NOT the sort of seasons that this Minnesota girl is familiar with), each month I'm taking a picture of what I've dubbed "Telephone Poll Hill." Located aboard Camp Pendleton, this hill has become a staple during our Mike TERF area hikes (although we are extra careful this time of year due to the rattlesnakes).

Again - another run on sentence. I'm blaming the blood thinners, so it's all good.

And before you go getting your knickers in a twist, no I DID NOT hike today. Instead, Nathaniel and I drove out to the hill, took a few pictures, and drove home. It felt a little anticlimactic, I was I'm so used to taking the shot after a long hike.

But...My doctor has given me the "all clear" to start LIGHT hiking next week. Though I'm afraid that it will be a while before we do anything long or tenuous. And that's okay - just part of the process. Yes, I'm upset - but there is NOTHING I can do about it, except take things day by day. In the meantime though, enjoy the pictures. I'm excited to see what August and September bring...

I'm really looking forward to taking those shots!

March 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010It's been an interesting July thus far. The Marine Layer has stuck around uncharacteristically long, and while our friends on the East Coast have sweltered in the heat, the temperatures have remained mild due to the constant cloud cover.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some sunshine! Stay tuned for August...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hospital Shots

Yes, the pun is intended. It's horrible, and I'll readily admit that. I swear that ever since I've been on blood thinners, I've lost my ability to "filter" what I say or how my thoughts come out of my mouth. I think my Mom was horrified on the way to the airport to pick up my Dad. My mental middle finger, which is usually aimed towards crappy drivers, instead became a free flowing commentary as we sped down the 5.


But I'm still INR is stable...and I've managed to dig up the camera for a few hospital "shots". Ha ha ha - I know, I know - awful. But really - I can't help it.

Don't blame me - blame the Coumadin. It's what I'm doing.

Welcome to Scripps Encinitas Emergency Room!Waiting for my CT scan with NO IDEA how bad off I really was. My stupid grin gives proof to that fact. Then again, Meredith kept me laughing the entire time

This IV brought to you by Power Bar and Diet Coke.Awesome! THANK YOU MEREDITH for supplying me with Diet Coke. I could not have gotten through the 8 days without that. Well... I guess I could have - it just would have been really really ugly.

My Lovenox injection shots...And I have a collection of dime-sized bruises along my "love handles" as testament to my self-injection blunders.

CUPCAKES from Molly! WOO HOO!!!!!!Along with the BEST nurses EVER!!!!

Wow! These flowers smell a lot better......than the lady sharing my room. (Luckily I moved to a private "suite" after two days. BLISS!)

No, I swear to you that I'm not about to blow up.Wires from my EKG, which I wore CONSTANTLY. The weird part about being home, is knowing that no one is monitoring my heart. Slightly disconcerting given the fact that there's a VERY big clot de-clotting itself in my leg. But still...I miss that EKG and the security it brought.

Meet my new friend Dallas!!!Canine Companions were AWESOME, and I made three new doggie friends. They really brightened up my day. Many thanks to Dallas, Tomas, and Shirley!

A healthy lunch of pita, Greek salad, milk, and...almond butter...?Clearly, I talk about peanut butter and almond butter too much, if people are bringing me jars of the stuff. And yes - I said jars. The PB went to the nurses, but I kept the AB for myself and visitors...

After one day, I added a fourth goal...Mission Accomplished!

The volunteers who delivered flowers and packages and chocolate were extra pleasant!

Happy Anniversary!Chocolate covered strawberries from Nathaniel. Okay - so NOT the hike + Pizza Port (pizza + GREAT beer) we had planned. However - the added bonus was that we BOTH got to celebrate on this earth.

Speaking of love...four of the images from my heart ultrasound.Sorry - I can't tell you what any of the pictures mean... But I do know, that it belongs to Nathaniel.

Still swollen. Sigh.And slightly discolored (due to the -cringe- broken cappilaries and tissues within the skin). I've always hated feet - and here is another reason why.

(Psst: It's the RIGHT foot)


Wall of hearts --discovered during my 4th of July foray through the empty-feeling hospital.

This sign gave me hope! Do I get to run stairs? Yes?? Please! YES!! PICK ME!!!NO. For much of the time I was restricted to the bed or very light walking - my doctors didn't want me to dislodge the DVTs in my right leg. Again.

Mirrors were everywhere.
Rocks in the garden - always helping me to find my way.
Happy 4th of July!
I found this on the camera, and laughed.I have to hand it to Nathaniel - a Marine, helicopter pilot, and lifelong lego lover - this was AWESOME. I think he's planning on building the Yankee version soon.

I had warned Meredith...that my friend Jaime makes the BEST BAKED GOODS EVER. Sshhhh:even better than sheet cake!Yes, we were all amazed. And I swear, that I waddled out of that place.

Seven days and counting...two IVs, more bruises than I ever though possible......but GRATEFUL to be alive.

THANK YOU EVERYONE for your incredible support. Still working on those emails...and grateful to be here.