Thursday, September 27, 2012

I've Created a Tumblr for my trip

that you can find here if you're curious. Between sketchy internet access (the walls are so thick, my little USB modem struggles some times for signal!) and some crazy randomness that I'm posting, I thought it might be the best way to trip blog.

Yes, this is a REAL town. Pronounced Fah-eel.
And I promise a real post with some of my favorite highlights soon!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Killing the Saudades

Saudade: A word in Portuguese that doesn't actually have a direct translation in English. The closest I can come to is a feeling of longing for something. But it's much stronger than longing. And I have saudades of this place when I'm in the States.

I'm in Portugal for my long-ish vacation (staying at my parents' house, of course. Otherwise, it would be short-ish.) Day one was about landing in Porto, seeing a two places I've never visited, and getting up and running with internet access and things that I really missed.

YUM! Hai chocolate. I luv you so very much.
I also have straciatella yogurt and Kelloggs Special K (the better tasting European version)
ready for breakfast this morning.
Most of this is family and relaxing at home, but when I go somewhere interesting, I'll be blogging and vlogging about my trip, including places like this:

Cafe Majestic in Porto
Oh-- and I vlogged about that:

And going to an AMAZING bookstore and buying this:

Look familiar?
So, now the question is... do I post it here or create a tumblr for my random pictures/musings?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

You Are Stronger Than You Think

I'm talking about cadavers today. Soooo... if you get a little icked out by dead bodies, this might not be the best post for you.

My first cadaver lab was over nine years ago. Some people get broken in with one or two bodies. Me, I had a roomful of bodies, all of them over a week old. I had to walk through the lab area to get to the locker room, and, just as I stepped into the lab, the techs were rolling them out of body bags and on to the tables. I saw faces and open blank eyes. And I moved as fast as I could (without running) to get out of there.

As soon as I reached the women's locker room, I curled up on a bench and started rocking back and forth, saying, "I can't do this." And after a few minutes of having a mini breakdown and pity party, I reminded myself that I chose this career and, if I couldn't suck it up, I had to get out.

I sucked it up. As a newbie, I had the pleasure of having to remove all of the implants that the training surgeon had put in during his demonstration. And when the cadaver I was working on that day lost her arm because, well, a week of being studied meant the body couldn't handle being manipulated, I just kept going without blinking.

I took a really, really long shower afterwards.

It's been almost ten years of labs and visiting tissue banks. I've seen things that bench-rocking me would never have wanted to see. I've learned so much, and I hope that some of my work that came from these educational (and validation) labs has made a difference in people's lives. I've also learned that I can handle a lot more than younger me thought I could. I had really underestimated myself.

Oh, hai, night blooming waterlily! So pretty and unexpected!

This is one of my stories of unexpected strength. Do any of you want to share yours? I'd love to read them!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Temporary Toepick Title

I think I've confessed before on this blog about my intense fear of the ice, at least for the first few seconds after I step onto the ice surface for practice or a lesson. There's a very real moment where I'm convinced I'm an idiot and am going to break my neck. "WTF are you thinking? You're breakable. It's colder than hell* in here. Get your butt back into the lobby and go, I don't know, shopping or something."

*note: for me, hell is cold. I hate the cold so much. My office is cold. Operating rooms are cold. Cold is... sucky. And, yes, I willingly ice skate.

There are days when I have to force myself to lace up my skates and get on the ice. There are days when my leg muscles burn during warmup so much that I can't imagine pushing through for another hour-plus.

I'm trying to build back all of the muscle I lost because of my hamstring injury back in February. Months worth of physical therapy and I'm only at about two-thirds of where I had been. So, last Tuesday, I spent the entire 50 minute freestyle session feeling like I was trying to skate uphill. Sweat dripped down my back and I kept wondering why I didn't just get off of the ice. My legs were so tired, even, that I popped my loops, flubbed my salchows... and let's not even talk about spins.

My skates are dead and they'll cost from $400-$600 to replace. Lessons cost a fortune.

Unlike math, 2 + 2 doesn't always equal four. There are days when you could be doing everything right, but it just won't be a spin day or a jump day or an anything day.

An awful scratch-spin tracing from Thursday. See all of those loops?
In a good spin, they're small and in the same spot.
I'll never be an olympian. The only places I compete are at adult competitions and they're few and far between (and the only prizes, really, are bragging rights and a medal.) As an adult, I physically struggle more and learn slower than kids. A little boy or girl who starts now will probably have their double jumps by the time I finally land my lutz.

I've already had to get stitches on my chin and have gotten very good at falling.

Figure skating (freestyle) ice is hard to find in a hockey world. There are days when the ice surface is too hard (hockey ice), too bumpy, or, frankly, crappy beyond belief.

All in all, it sounds really and truly sucktastic, doesn't it?


We started the choreography on my new Winter show program today. My coach and I set the Icelandic version of Never Forget (Mundu Eftir Mer) on loop and let loose. While she played with the opening, I practiced my camel spins. I did my best sit spin of the lesson to the violin solo in the middle, pulling my arm back mid-spin as if I were using a bow and screaming a "Whee!!!" as I came back up to standing. My coach kicked into a doughnut spin and I followed, then had fun on a jump combination she gave me.

I flew and spun and had an amazing time just trying to become the music. It's alchemy, making gold out of sweat and scratches and ice full of hockey player spit.

All of the problems listed before the "But" gave me this... and it's worth every painful, whiplash-filled, bruised second.

What about you? What is in your life that at face value is kind-of craptastic, but is so much more when you dig deeper?