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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April fools!?

Personally,I'm so glad that we, as the American culture, have a recognized day to celebrate playing ridiculous pranks on each other.  Personally, I've never had much opportunity to take it to heart, although I do love the cleverness, and the level of cospiration involved.  

Congratulations to all who were clever enough to pull off a joke.  I did not have such an opportunity, although, I must admit the calibre of pranks seems to have risen.  Yesterday, I read an article which outlined 10 different pranks.  Some tried, and true, others delightfully clever.  However, all in all, largely despicable.  T favorite was to Saran Wrap the shower head, so the water became redirected, at the person reaching in to turn it on.  Tonight at dinner, an auto mechanic tecounted a seriously dirty (in more ways than one) story of greasing everything. In the shop with tire lube.  The take-away point was the extreme slipperiness of the stuff,  while the story was hilarious, it ultimately reminded me that the line between funny, and cruel is not all that distinct.  

As I happen to so spend so much time piecing a manageable life back together, these realizations  occasionally blindside me.  Sometimes I lose it, and breakdown.    Others, I just remain stoic, and attempt not to process the implications of having lost so much, that I still have no idea, as to the ultimate extent of my injury.  Anoxia is still the great unknown.


  Like pranks that inflict pain, or emotional harm, where is the hilarity in the creation of anothers  suffering?  It often appears that our society feeds on this negative energy.  I now find it necessary to occasionally stop, center myself, and remember that I don't have to/can't let all of it in.  I'm often forced to filter the world piece by piece, as orchestrating all movement, thought processes, and all othe life functions can't simply overload my abilities.  In this case, I stop, or freeze until my brain mangages to process, even one detail, and I can go on in my world.  Every survivor lives with different struggles, although, I d like to imagine that the struggle of Irving your broken world back together, can be triumphantly universal.





Thursday, February 26, 2015

Oh, the irony.

Through the last several years of blogging, I've come to take more pride in my expression of the written word.  Editing pieces takes considerable time, though I feel it's important to document my experiences, despite my sometimes, obvious editing misgivings.  Unfortunately, today I just learned, my lack of attention to editing, has screwed me out of a job I desperately wanted.  The day before we left for  Iceland, I scrambled to create a cover letter, and grab my resume, as well as a writing sample, for a job I'd been very excited about, with Local Motion.  Unfortunately in my haste,I failed to check my writing sample.  It turns out I submitted the mangled draft of an assignment from last semester, and lost any consideration for the position because of my writing sample.  It's not that I even thought I had a real shot at the position, but to learn that I screwed myself out of consideration because of my writing ability, is just plain, old,devastating.

That is all for today, I feel humiliated, and have to find other jobs to apply for, whilst not wallowing in my own idiocy.

Also, never fear, my Iceland post will go up soon.  I have to download some photos from my camera, and non Apple technology continues to baffles me...

Monday, February 16, 2015

Nordic Travel Adventures

This evening I'm sitting in the international departures terminal at Bostons Logan Irport, in elated disbelief that my dream of visiting Iceland is being realized.  11 years ago, I found myself seriously unhappy with my choices and direction (or lack thereof) in my life, so, I dragged my sorry self to classes, and peer activities, but in my free time, I scoured the Internet for international jobs working with horses.  One October day, I found a job that called to me.  I immeadiately fired off an email, inquiring about logistics and job details.  Within a week, I booked a flight to London, had formally become a college dropout, and had never been more sure that this was the right decision, for me, at that time.   There is such a sense of freedom, when you find a way to pursue your passions.  The following year, I'd booked a return flight that happened to have a layover in Rejykavik, Iceland.  One of my coworkers had gone on, and on about its beauty, from a tour she had been on there, flying in, I remember being captivated by the essentially black ground, amidst shrubbery, and sparse fields.  Very curious.  I decided then, I would return, to learn more of this land.

I now realize that so many of us allow our fears to stop us from pursuing our passions.  Myself included.  Last year, I was thinking about this, while reminiscing about some of the sights and differing perspectives I once had the opportunity to glimpse. One of the many, supposedly common brain injury characteristics is impulsive decision making.  Whether it was my overwhelming fear of being swallowed whole by federal aid programs, or a compulsive behavior that I'm not prone to, I cannot be sure.  The moment I saw a travel excursion to Iceland, on Living Social, all of these memories poured in.  Before I knew it, I had a flight and hotel in Iceland.

Once I gathered the strength to tell my dad, I was surprised when he wanted to come.  Soon we were both booked to go to Iceland.  It's my opinion that Iceland has a quite hospitable weather climate during the winter.  Although, I sincerely believe New England winters are particularly adverse.  Iceland had projected temperatures for above freezing, so I was immediately excited.  Temps in Vermont have been hovering between 0 and 10 degrees Farenheit.  Temps in Iceland were projected to be around 40 degrees midday.

Flying in!

As we finally boarded our overnight flight, 2 hours late, it settled in that I was actually going to visit a new (to me) land.  Honestly, for me, the adventure, and thrill of new place, and experiences is what I crave, always have.  I love meeting new people, learning new customs, heritage, and taking in new landscapes.  The 'red-eye' flight passed quickly, even though I was too excited to sleep.

Landing in Reykjavik Monday morning, the airport seemed as welcoming, if not more than it had 10 years before, on a layover from London.  We easily found our way to the bus terminal, and boarded a Reykjavik  bound bus.  This country has tourism facilitation down to a science.  Although, we learned of a growing fear/concern, that because almost all of the countries GDP (gross domestic product) relates to tourism, their national economy could shut down if any kind of tourism decline occurs.  One of the guides informed us that the country receives 6-10 million visitors/year, while the countries population is fewer than 650,000.  Tricky business.  Although, the tourism industry appears to be coordinated quite seamlessly.  Everything we saw, and experienced was handled extremely well, even when tours were cancelled due to foul weathe conditions.

The bus dropped us off at the hotel where we were booked, Plaza Centre.  Unbelievably, they were quite accommodating with early check in.  We had to wait 2 hours for the others to checkout, and for them to clean it, so we ventured forth, to find a meal.  We walked maybe 2 blocks, and discovered a somewhat French themed cafe.  Breakfast foods are my favorite of the day, and I got French toast, and an interesting chai latte.  Curious combination, I like them both as their own things, but together was strange, in my opinion.
 Inside the church'attrium
 Curious brand name, in the grocery

Monday evening, we had scheduled a trip to the blue lagoon, one of the 25 wonders of the world.  Truthfully it's a man made mistake, from extraction and mining difficulties, that formally created this wonder, however it is absolutely magical.  We boarded the somewhat empty tourbus, and took in the sights, through an ever strengthening snowstorm.  As the bus slid all over the road, though still climbing the steep incline, we all collectively wondered about a) the ever decreasing possibility the blue lagoon would even be open, and b) surviving the bus ride.  Soon, the driver anounced that upon our arrival, the bus would remain on site, until the road reopened.  There was a brief uproar from all the unhappy tourists, although, upon arrival,we could go into the parking, and booking Center to use the facilities.  Back on the bus, we befriended a Blue Lagoon employee, Erla.  She had a true gift for keeping people at ease.  She shared many interesting tidbits about local culture, and we learned more about local customs, as well as stories about her family.  After 2 hours passed, the road was reopened, and we were allowed to return to Reyjavik.  Although we missed the oppottunity to relax in the healing waters of the blue lagoon, our tickets remained valid for another visit, and we had the opportunity to converse with so many different people.

Iceland has a very group centered approach to tourism.  The tourism industry herds everyone, 'en masse', into packed tour buses, where a guide talks about points of interest, and tells fun facts along the way.  I was worried about my dads response to this type of tourism, although we both did remarkably well, being on a bus, with intermittent stops for waterfalls, the black sand beach, a museum tour, a lunch break, and a visit to what's referred to as a glacier tongue. This is where a glaciers is attached to a land mass.)  That was such a mesmerizing day, as there was so much to take in.  This trip was so short, and gave such a brief introduction to the multitude of majestic natural wonders this land has to offer.
Ice on volcanic matter
Skogafoss
Countryside in motion!
Traditional Viking craft restored in a museum
Skogarfoss-almost the same name, however, Yet an even more grand waterfall!

As it was such a quick trip, we found ourselves constantly torn, with regard to choosing tourism ventures throughout the country, and blazing our own path around Reykjavik.  Wednesday, I was very excited to go on a tour, referred to as the golden circle tour, When 2 English ladies recognized us from the day before, and gave rave reviews of the local public bathhouses.  We had already heard great reviews Monday, as well, and the idea of hot tubs, and a sauna, combined with more more movement seemed far more appealing than another 11 hour bus tour.  Deciding between volcanoes, and glaciers, or the public bath-houses seems like a no brainer, I admit.  However, given our need to stay moving, it made sense to learn more about the local culture by hitting the pools, and hot tubs, and then checking out a nearby market, where I stocked up on a couple of my dietary staples, (bananas, chococolate milk, yogurt, and teas to bring home.  The final 'piece de resistance' was the the Saga museum, where their cultures history as it has been handed down through story-telling (sagas) , and is shared in audio format, via headsets, as you wander through various scenes of the ages.  I have no adequate means to describe how captivating this museum experience was.  We basically walked around looking at depictions, and scenes, while listening to an audio guide tell stories about each charachter, on a headset.  Yet, the stories were so captivating.  Sometimes you just need a classical experience of foreign culture to tie everything together, or at least I did.  That evening we had our classic debate over food choices, although, in the end the food was  still great.

Friday was our last morning, and we were rebooked at the Blue Lagoon, as it was en route to the airport.  Rising that morning, I felt somewhat forlorn, and disappointed to have say good-bye, before I was ready.  The night before, I had needed some time to myself, and had responded to emails, and orgaznized travel notes.  When I was 20, I traveled the U.K. And Fance alone.  Mostly to meet friends, where they were living while studying abroad.  Sitting there watching the groups of people, I got lost in reminiscing about my former freedoms.  Although, it made me glad I had those earlier experiences, as they had provoked my Iceland fascination, and now I truly understand why I'm so passionate about visiting new places.

After our final breakfast at the hotel, we loaded our things, and headed back to the Blue Lagoon.  This experience was so different than Monday's.  Whe could see stark black and white contrast of the hardened lava fields, bathed in the sun-sparkling snow.  Amongst this contrast were small pools of baby blue water.  Reminded me of a blueberry freeze-pop, and the funky color they turned your toungue when I was a little kid. Putting on my bathing suit seemed counter intutive in this climate.  Ice water plunges? are one thing, but it didn't seem possible to get into 80-100degrees Fahrenheit water, surrounded by snow, and ice.  You leave your bathrobe on a rack, before stepping outside, and descending into the blue lagoon.  The lagoon is much larger than it first appears, accommodating over 600 people t one time.  We did one full loop. Stopping at the bar for smoothies, continuing on through surprising water temperature differences, inspecting caves, observing the many different nationalities, experiencing a steam room,and playing in a waterfall.  They had given me swim noodle, to use for stability, as I've lost the ability to swim.  I had to resist the compelling urge to smack the water with it, and splash passer-bus.  Juvenile amusements never cease, altogether...  
Surrealism at the Blue Lagoon!

They are currently preparing to build a luxury resort on the property, as well.  Hearing this, I grew extremely grateful that we had visited before that was built.  Resorts often change the existing serenity amongst such grandeur.  I'm sure it will still be worthy of its heralding as a wonder of the world, the commercialization will just reach new heights.  After 3 hours in the Lagoon, I was ready to get out, However, not ready to leave.  We said our goodbyes to Erla, and were so grateful for her accomdation.  , Then it was time to board a bus to the airport.  We had a good 4 hours before our flight, so we ate our final Iclandic meal, paninis, and salad, and then went shopping.  Part of the airport, is literally a shopping mall.  I am much happier walking around looking at new things, than I am sitting around waiting for time to pass.  My dad views shopping differently, and wasn't quite as excited as I was, though he was a good sport.  The only disappointment was the ridiculously high prices.  I found a coat I loved, it was $350 for a light wool coat, if I made any income that could be a consideration, although it still struck me as ridiculous for a coat I might wear 4 times in a year.  Still, it felt difficult to walk away from.  In the blue lagoon souvenir shop there were cosmetic testers, and tons of trinkets with the Blue Lgoon logo.  As we walked back to our gate, we passed a gigantic liquor store, and beyond that, 4 bars, a Brookstone store, and a newsstand.  We were still unforgivably early, so I went on a coffee hunt.  I had my decaf mocha latte, and returned to the gate area, to hunt for an outlet, to give my tablet more life.  Eventually, they made the boarding call, and we bid adieu to this grand land of wonder, and beauty.  On the flight home, I savored every last sip of Icelandic spring water, and tried to surmise a list of the top 3 moments, of the trip, with my dad.  It was a great idea, but I couldn't favor any one experience, over another. Im alreadysaving my  pennies to return, and go horseback riding, and glacier hiking.  I wonder if it's compable to walking on a frozen lake, except there's more comfort in knowing you cannot fall through the ice...


The flight back returns over incredible views of Greenland.(which is, ironically, more icy than Iceland)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

These are the days!

"where anything goes."  It's a line from a song I Ove knew.  Best opening line, ever, am I right?  All jokes aside I often go back to this horrible place,,where I feel stuck, and cursed my lucky stars, and go off to ponder what may be next.  With brain injury rehabilitation, there's always work to be done, and new therapies to be realized and/or created.  However, I'm closing on 8 years of existing only to put my life back in some semblance of working order.  My Goal is mo longer to be the girl I was, but to find a way to make a difference in my obscenely negative world of misery.  Overkill?  Maybe.  Honestly, I prefer to only capture the more pleasant stories/details in life, so that has posed some difficulties in soe aspects of honest expression.  Everyday has its hardships, no matter the activities, though I'm certain we all face that, throughout our lives.

I'm also particularly indignant, from spending much of the last 3 days in bed, with a miserable seasonal illness.  Spent quality time watching too much Netflix, sleeping, and eating soup.  I started feelingbetteryesterday, but decided to lay low, and canceled my awesome plans to hold snowboarding,  and attend a potluck, and meditation in the evening"

Next week, my dad and I are headed to Iceland (yes, you read that right) and it's very important to me to be healthy enough to go.  It's only a 3 day excursion, but I haven't gotten to travel out of the country in ages, and could not be more excited.  Iceland is one of those places I've always dreamed of visiting.  From horses to glaciers, public funded health care and education, to glimpses of the nothrthern lights and hot springs, the country captivates me.  Yes, it's winter there too, so there will be less sunlight, butthe estimated temps are around the freezing point 32 degrees) so I won't mind.  Likely, it will be warmer than my current home state of Vermont.  So that's something to look forward to, though I'm right back at today, so I'll have be contentious about my wellness.

I saw my voice coach, Bill Reed, who primarily trains actors/actresses for performances, though his skills have proven to be exactly the kind of retraining I need to speak more clearly.  It's not technically speech therapy, which makes it difficult on my pocketbook, though, he has proven to be incredibly helpful, in the past couple years.

Currently, I'm at a restaurant with more food, writing before I head toOn Track, the gym where I do PT.  Often PT is one Fo the bright spots in my day, as I love being so active, and am  in constant appreciation of the progress they've helped me to make.  Much of my sessions are currently focused on balance, and increased coordination of my movement.  The progress is curse fly slow, though considerable, since I've started there.

After that, one of my closest friends from college is in town, so we have plans to catch up.  It's Amber!  I'm so excited to see her, we don't get to catch up often, so I'm pretty excited.  I've seen her twice in the past 2 years, on her present home turf, in the big city, and am very excited to catch up.  I don't have many close friends that are often available to catch up, around here, so, needless to say, this is my high point of the week.  And it's snowing today, which always makes me happy.  I desperately needed stuff to appreciate, after being home, in bed, for multiple days.  Yay, things are really looking up now:)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mindset!?

Mindset

So, what's the secret to a positive mindset?

Trust me, if there was such a thing, it would not be a secret.

Part of my life, longevity, and happiness here in Burlington,I owe to a truly inspiring friend of mine.  She also a TBI (traumatic brain injury( survivor, we met in 2008, at my first TBI conference.  I think she had been named survivor of the year, that year.  She was in a different rehab program, but her family lived nearby.  Over the years, we've found common interests, and last year she enrolled in a residential mindfulness program, which is a monastic tutorial and teaching center.  They run The Center for Mindful Learning, which works to give students unclouded judgement, and a more sincere ability to remain focused, and mindfully complete a task (not do greater harm).

For me, he center has been an important guide, and refuge to sort out the tangled mess of crazy emotions that surface in my head.  On Sunday's, the centers visionary, and head monk leads a guided community meditation.  I've been attending the past couple years, with my friends family,as she is now a resident, working to further their mission.  The talks give us much to contemplate, whether a fable like tale, or an informative speech about world matters.  Tonight's talk struck me more like that of a TED talk, than anything else.  He discussed emotion, how it is perceived on the world platform, in the workplace, to our individual, or family lives.  In our culture emotionality runs the world.  How each of us is perceived, often has an enormous weight, behind our social standing.  The old me, did not give a shit about others perception, as in I really was not aware of this, I just did what I did, which was usually about 3 more responsibilities than I could manage effectively. There was no time to think about anything worth pondering, and if there was I was probably busy squandering it away at work, or the bars with friends.

Anyways, back to emotions, tonight's talk gave me some much needed perspective on the cognitive progress I've somehow made.  For most of us, emotions are linked to memories.  For me, tonight's meditation brought a deep sense of appreciation, and even whimsical longing for the months immediately after the onset of my injury.  WTF!?  Right?
I was a blank slate then.  It was as if emotionality was not a perceivable factor in my world.  That is why I rarely got upset over the severity, or lack of understanding of my injury, because those things no longer existed in my literally fractured mind.  The world was very basic then, yes I had incurred a severe brain injury, and  no one seemed to have any answers about it, but I did have love.  As a former cynic of 'the power of love', I'm inclined to cringe at the statement, 'all you need is love', though I certainly admit, you all have carried me through,this far!

As I was attempting to explain my previous experiences to the head monk, it struck me how grateful I am, not only for my survival, and the endless support, but also, amazingly enough, for the  new perspective.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

All in my head

I've got over 10 half written draft posts on here.  I'll start to tell a story, and get interrupted.  I used to back to them that night, and pry into my sleep time.  Last year, I gave that up, but I also Learrned that I forgot my compulsion to tell a story, and only comes around once, occasionally twice, if it's a particularly memorable event.  My memory plainly, sucks.  I cannot remember new faces, which is Apparantly a condition other people have too, facial blindness.  I'm not sure if I have that same condition, as I've become able to recognize people I see regularly.  Almost everyone I knew during my hospital stay, I could identify by voice.  I couldn't see you, but I did recall the voice tones and pitches.  Adaptation is amazing that way!  

When I first acquired my injury, I saw nothing.  My world was a dull shade of brown all the time, no matter what time of day, nothing was there.  All of my early memories involve me waking up, and screaming, 'I'm blind, why can't I see?'   I don't remember my visitors, my first steps, or even the first thing I was able to eat.  I just remember the trauma of losing my sight.  I had no concept I was in the hospital, but also, no memory.   The reason that is my only memory, is probably because everytime I woke, I freaked out because I couldn't see, or speak (all the thracheotomy tubing), and thenothey sedated me,but I don't even remember that, only that I had no vision.  Very slowly, my brain has rebuilt those connections, and now, I likely processes 80-90% of the world around me now.  In 2011, I had about 70%, that was also the last time I did the eye exam, that measures your visual field.  I only did it then, to satisfy the requirements to have LASIK (laser eye surgery), as my neuropathy prevented me from being able to manage contacts well, and my glasses often fell off my face, plus my lenses often needed to be replaced.  Now I've adapted to look down, while moving, because if im not looking at something, my brain may not process the physical changes I need to make, to alter my course.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time at my friends house.  She had another friend from her gymnastics class, that I knew from school.  We were an interesting triad, mainly because they were graceful, and I was the opposite of graceful.  Always tripping myself, and being the clumsy idiot who dropped everything.  I'm still clumsy, some things you just do not grow out of.   That phase of my life life was earmarked by the unpleasant nickname, of Sloth.  I wasn't upset that sloth was a moral sin, I was upset that other kids thought I was slow.

 I was 12 when I got my first pair of glasses, so I immediately noticed an improvement in my  regular tripping and falling episodes.  It's funny though, because even then I cannot recall how much my world changed when I got glasses.  Most people seem to remember that 'ah-ha' moment, when they got glasses.  I couldn't remember that in college, ether though, so that's not a lost memory.  I remember not being happy that I suddenly felt like I had to take notes in school, because the stuff on the board was actually relevant information, but  that's all.

I still have existing processing delays, from my injury, so I cannot react with speed, in most situations.  My reaction time is nearly non-existent, but I will always be graful for my recovered ability to see.  This is also why my injury has robbed me of the ability to drive, or even move more comfortably, as in without the resounding fear that I can so easily hurt myself, if I overlook anything.  As someone who involuntarily falls over, 2-3 times a week, because of spastic muscle activity, I would prefer not to increase that number by tripping myself, because I didn't see something, I should have.  I suppose my childhood nickname of Sloth lives on.  Again, I was sloth, because I moved slowly, and now I do, once again.  Thankfully, I outgrew that phase before, and expect to again.  Guess it's time find my super classy track pants, with the word sloth, plasted on the ass.  Weirdly, some things follow you around forever...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Out with the old, in with the new

This past Sunday,  I had plans to reconect with a friend I had not seen since spring.  A good 4 months went by.  She got a new job, and found herself working 2 jobs for a short time, and I went to Colorado for a writers workshop with a fantastic new friend, Sandy, and to do some adaptive horseback riding with Mike Farlander at the Adaptive Sports Center in Crested Butte, again.  I need to write about that trip, too.  After, I got back, I was back, and forth to Maine 3 times, and generally, felt lost no matter where I was.  I did a lot of soul searching, and am still torn between pursuing school, in the field of public health. and trying to become an inspirational figure, through writing, and outdoor recreation.   I thought about going to med school to become an osteopath,but as soon as I started getting into studying the MCAT material, it made me remember why I'd changed out of the pre med track. 

 At 17, I went to UVM on they're veterinary track.  I loved horses.  Giving my bratty Morgan horse up, to come to UVM, had been extremely emotional for me.  Then, just as I began my junior year at UVM, I got  lost in my decisions, and abandoned school, for a job as a stable hand, in southwest England.  I just needed to get away from my crazy, scattered lifestyle in college, and find out if I belonged on the farm instead.  I loved spending everyday on the farm, feeding, cleaning, riding, and running errands.  I was mostly there because   I often  got to ride 3 times a day. The most hilarious event I participated in was the British Eventing Ball.  It was literally a ball, where the woman wore gowns, and the men wore tuxedos. I remember finding it hilarious knowing that hours before, many of us had been up to our knees in soggy manure.  I also felt like my attire declared my nationality, in an absurd fashion.  I brought one dress, to England, and, it was a little black one.  All the other women wore gorgeous gown, think prom dress, and the multiply how fabulous those are by 4.  Nonetheless, I still had a wonderful time, despite the constant declararation of, 'oh, you must be the American.'  Assumably, because I was 20, and legally intoxicated.  And that wasn't even the most amusing part of my year.  I had 3 close friends studying abroad that year, and was able to travel, and see each of them.  I also got to validate my decision of taking a year off, in that I couldn't afford to pay for school, if I did not know what I wanted from it.  I went home in May, and worked 2 serving jobs (waitress) to save money to live on, back at school.  Wheni went back, I stuck with college of agriculture, and life sciences, but I switched my focus to public communications, and enabled myself to broaden my view of the world. I got a job at a local barn to help myself remember to stay grounded.  My focus was better, and my GPA nearly doubled, after swiching my studies.  In my final semester, I got the opportunity to study abroad too.  I went to Belize, to a small private college, with 15 other UVM kids.  When classes ended, I traveled with a friend for 2 weeks, returning days before graduation.  The day I returned, I met Sean, who I was dating when my heart stopped.  Irony is incredible sometimes.  I'd returned to my per diem job as a secretary at the hospital, while I looked for a more life sustaining career.  Just when I found it, I acquired this injury.

In June, I saw a doctor recommend by at friend, to get back on a prescription contraceptive.  I didn't know a lot about it, but I asked for prescription for Orthtrycyclin, as it had helped tremendously, the year before iwith unpleasant woman issues.  This doctor said that she could only offer me Yaz, I remember asking if it was similar to Yasmin, which I'd seen lawsuit commercials for.  She said, yes, but that they had changed the formula, and the name since.  In what I now recognize as terrible judgement, I allowed myself to be satisfied with that answer.  I say that because after 4 months of absurd nausea, when I took it, I suffered a random cardiac arrest, my heart just stopped, from an extreme potassium deficiency.  It was later determined, that those effects were cased by that same contraceptive, Yaz.  Looking back, I think I'd rather have had a kid, than have become one again, myself.

This is my history, I acquired an anoxic brai injury because my heart stopped, and failed to get oxygenated blood to my brain.  I owe the life I have now to countless people- Sean, my mom, my dad, my aunt, and  my incredible friends from all facets of my life, my doctors, nurses,therapists, and adaptive recreation professionals.  I am so thankful for them all, as each one has had a hand in helping me become who I am today.  Thank you all, it's been a long trying road, and may always be, but still worth it, everyday I can help someone else see that no matter how bad it gets, there's always something to keep pushing for.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Super Sunday

One of the traits I've missed most throughout my recovery is the ability to remain productive, and not fall into distraction traps.  I'd set my alarm for 6, to attempt to run downtown for a free yoga. Class on church st.  Sounded like a fun morning, though I woke up, made a smoothie, and put on my running gear.  Though once I'd eaten, I'd forgotten about my plan to be at church st. By nine.  While I ate, I revered upon the wall to wall carpeting in the apartment.  So, I vaccumed when I finished breakfast.  Then, I headed to my towns fabulous farmers market.  This market is hands down my favorite attraction,  it's grown massively in the past few years, and I got carried away today.  Corn on the cob, kale, blueberries, cucumbers, chaga chai tea, spanicopita, and samosas, and croissants largely covers  what I got.  The best part is that this was a week, they were matching every $10 you exchanged, so I got a great deal on lots of fresh food.  Later I made 2 salads with my goodies.  I was relieved to have enough time to go for a 3 mile run, and clean up, before heading to a potluck dinner, and meditation.

My friend Anna moved to an in residence meditation teacher training program, and her family kindly offers me a ride each week, for the community sit.  I hadn't been able to make in over a month, so it felt exciting to return.  It was wonderful meeting new people, reconnecting with some, and hopefully making a new running friend, fingers crossed.  In tonight's sit, we were invited to focus on our peripheral sense, see, hear, feel, and consider the feelings which arose as a result.  I heard someone outside, inflate what I assumed was a bike tire, and was derailed into a mountain biking fantasy.  Good stuff right there.  Soon, it was time for the active segment, where you're invited to stretch, move around the room, do yoga.  Tonight I really appreciated that segment, as it gave mevtheopportunity to positively reinforce the progress I've made physically this year.

I've been attending weekly meditationsat the Center for Mindful Learning pretty regularly since Anna introduced me to it.  It's an incredible community asset, I sincerely wish the western mindset was more accepting of this practice.  Although it's a majorly accepted here, at least.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Wedding Season!

So it begins...
Back in college,   I spent a lot of time doing Outing Club related activities, leading trips, fundraising, instructing new leaders.  Through this community I made some amazing friends.  I lived with some, learned a lot about the backcountry, and teaching.  College seems like an alternate universe these days.  I met Chris through mutual friends.  He's very candid, and seemed to so easily make friends wherever he went.  Senior year I sublet a room in the apartment he lived in.  A very foul apartment, in every sense, it was quite small,and had never been cleaned, it appeared, since it had been built.  We all made the best of it, and I could count on being heckled for getting food on myself while I sat on the couch at mealtime, and inevitably spilled all over myself.  The couch doubled as a dining area, as there was no table.  The Outing Club was more or less an unsanctoined fraternity for the guys and the ladies.  The parties were ridulous.  Many of my college memories have been swept away, but I will always remember how outgoing, and friendly he was/is, his originality in Halloween costumes, and an amazing ability to make everyone feel included.  In my world now, people with that quality are few, and far between.

I am moderately antisocial these days, as it takes an unreal amount of energy, cognition, and attention for me to be clearly understood, and even then I'm not too intelligible, unless I see you often.  I'd dropped the ball on planning to get there.  The wedding was at a ski resort, Jay Peak, 7 miles south of the Canadian border.  Pretty inaccessible for those who can't drive, and I had not thought ahead to line up a ride.  It felt like nothing had changed, in some respects, and like everything had changed in other respects.

The ceremony was beautiful.  Chris and Christine were married/ordained by two of their closest friends, all of their family members attested to their love, and commitment to one another. It seemed there wasn't a dry eye around, during the ceremony.  The testament to their love, and devotion, was powerfully lead by a great friends of theirs.  Family members offered intriguing testimonial also, however, John, and Karen ordaining the ceremony, was a beautiful touch, and the intermittent procession from the string quartet was beautiful. The weather was perfect, sunny, and mid 70's.  I can safely say I spent too much time outside, by the fire pit, during much of the dancing.  I smelled like wood smoke for the rest of the night.  When the band called it a night, for the fourth time, the wedding party proceeded to the bar.  My brain was at max capacity for the day, and I proceeded to pass out immediately, on a pull out couch, in a friends condo.  .  Being amongst this group, sometimes it feels exactly as I remember.  We can revert into our old roles, of our college selves so easily.  

The unruly drunks/ not so drunks paraded in,throughout the next 2 hours I wasn't sleeping anyways.  Some kindly meant comments, however, poorly worded, had sent me Into my head during the receptiion.  I was sitting near the dance floor, observing the ridiculousness when an older woman approached me, put her hand under my chin, and said,'at least you're still so pretty.'  I rarely feel provoked to smack people, but it took every moral fiber I have to ignore that shit, and remain seated.  I shut down after that.  Although thinking back on it now, I wish I'd thought to pull her down to my eye level, and said, 'Yes that is such a comfort, when I sound like this, and move like a troll.  Maybe it's just me, but looks aren't everything.  As for you, at least your sagging face makes it much easier to identify you in this crowd.'  I knew she hadn't meant to insult me, but it left like she had poured salt in an open wound.

In the morning I awoke to familiar voices upstairs, and went to see who was up already.  There wasn't much time before the mad dash to checkout, and make brunch began.  Lauren and Jesse kindly helped me with a plate of goodies at brunch.  I enjoyed the endless antics over the meal.  The goodbyes were aplenty.  The opportunity to reunite was an incredible gift.  It's often bittersweet, as I'll never be the girl I was when we were all closer, but the time spent making new memories, and continuing  on with a renewed ifaith in the power of love was the blessing I received from this event.  To Chris and Christine, on your wedding weekend.  May you both be blessed in your union, and throughout your lives together.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Good Morning Burlington PD

This morning, I'm standing in the kitchen, still in my pajama pants, when I hear someone at the door.  I put down my coffee to answe the hall-way door, assuming it's probably maintenance.  He asks for my housemate/aide.  Only then, does my brain process his uniform, as a police officer.  Marc is the kindest aide I've had in years, with an intact moral compass, and decent values.  It's why I hired him.  Apparantly openness and honesty are difficult to find in the 'real' world.  I've put up with some very questionable souls, but this is the first time I've gotten a visit from the police department.

I invited him in, while I tried to see if Marc was in.  He works nights, so it usually takes a moment to get an answer.  I finally realize this is not a social visit, and ask if everything is alright, wondering briefly if I live with a very unique criminal, although I find it totally unimaginable he would intentionally cause any trouble for anyone, ever.  He tells the corniest jokes I've ever heard, and never has a bad word to say about anyone, or anything.  Even when someone cuts him off in traffic.  I had foolishly assumed Marc had probably befriended a local police officer, so it took me a moment to realize he was here on official business.   Apparantly, Marcs employer did not receive the message he had called out of work the night before, and asked the police department to check on him.

This idea seems absolutely senseless to me.  if you work nights, you sleep in the daytime.  He puts his phone on silent when he sleeps.  I have to give him my schedule in advance, so he can sleep outside of the time I heed asisstance.  If I called the cops whenever I could not get ahold of him, I think there would be warrant out for a civil violation on my part.  I thought you had to wait 24 hours before the police could intervene.  The officer said it was  an unusual call.  As soon as Marc came out, he seemed thoroughly confused, and realized his employer must not have gotten the message he had called out, and the officer left.  What a bizarre start to the day.  I've  already decided when the nosy neighbors ask about why the saw they police at my door, I'll tell them I was arrested for running a drug cartel, but there was no evidence in my apartment, so they had to release me.  Often, I find myself annoyed with obtrusive questions from my building neighbors.  They usually misunderstand my responses anyways.  May as well make it more interesting...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Food for thought

lesson-1
Expect the unexpected.

A little story about myself.  6.5 years ago, I'd landed my first 'real adult' job.  I was very nervous to leave everything I knew behind, and start over again, although my career goals aligned with non profit management, and public relations.  I tentatively accepted this position, in Texas, as a personal assistant, to a woman who'd founded her own non-profit, primarily aimed at assisting children, and education in various ways.  I left, the day after my 23rd birthday, or I was supposed to.  The nihht before I left, my heart stopped, dead.  At least, I was, for an estimated 12-15 minutes.  My then boyfriend, fortunately realized, and did CPR, while getting my roommates to call an ambulance.  I am still here, because of his quick action, and later, my families unwillingness to give up on me, and faith in the bodies ability to heal itself, even in the face of the unknown.  We pushed through inpatient care, in 6 months, and then  I settled into my Medicaid/care funded rehab program here in Vermont.  Did you know that Vermont is #3 in the whole country, for brain injury rehabilitation ,and has the#1 most compressive/best outcome mental health programming in the country?There are plenty more external factors to wrestle with, but I stayed in Vermont to relearn life with an unknown kind of brain injury (anoxic).  I also had fantastic friends, and contacts from college.  Though, I didn't foresee losing. My relationship, and most of my college friends over the next 2 years.

Today, I am hopeful that you all, as well as others, can be persuaded to be more vigilant, and consider the ramifications of possible side effects, listed on your prescription bottles.  I know many of us believe that anything prescribed by a doctor, will help us, or remedy a problem.  To clarify, the reason, I briefly died, and was revived, and concurrentlydetermined to have sustained severe brain damage, is linked to my then, contraceptive, Yaz.  The company that produces it, BayerLLC, has had to change the name from Yazmin, to Yaz, to Ocella.  Reportedly, it's name is getting changed yet again.  Here's a novel idea, Bayer:  instead of changing the name of your drug to avoid lawsuits, how about changing the components of the drug, to make it less harmful, to less women.  Yes, I'm sure it's more expensive to do that, but think about the money you could save in your legal department.  I'm one of over 200,000 plaintiffs seeking an apology, at the very least, though preferably compensation for the damages, and experiences endured.

 How do you put a dollar sign on a life?  In my opinion, you can't, no one can.  We all have different values, and hold them in different places.  To clarify, I mean that characteristically, and not monetarily.  Same word, entirely different meaning.  Life can be fuzzy, as in, when the line is grey.  Defining right, and wrong  is different for each of us.

Today,  I'm asking you to look at yourselves, think about your own healthcare experiences.  How was the outcome?  Good?  Bad?  Indifferent?

Today, our country is on the crux of major health care reform, where all American citizens could gain access to the healthcare they deserve, and need.  Public healthcare is not the  psychotic, dying, bloody, disease ridden, festering mess it appears to be made out to be.  It's just (gasp) CHANGE!  and, a big one, at that.  What are we, as Americans, deathly allergic to?  Exactly, that.  Change.  I know, it might as well be a curse word, right?  You can faint now, or proceed with any overly dramatic reaction of your choosing, now, should you feel the need...

Alright, now that we've all recovered, let's get back to it.  Our country is touted for its freedoms,  however where money is involved, freedom seems irrelevant.  I live on government funds, my apartment is through section 8 (a government subsidy for people with little income, or a disability).  I use food stamps to buy my groceries, and receive a small monthly allotment to cover my bills.  What cracks me up, is that the fiscal resources I currently receive, is more than what I worked 3 jobs to make per month, while I was in school. The government system is created on formity, which I'd like to point out is the opposite of independence, and freedoms.  Needing government aid is all too common these days, but it all depends on your education, and willingness to look for the resources you need.  I now firmly believe that the media is our largest social enemy, by propagating false impressions regarding the validity and success of these programs.  In my nonprofessional opinion, we invest far too much money in defense, and international relations, where the valuable investment is domestically, within our own borders.the number of Americans seeking financial assistance goes up every year, as wages fail to rise, despite monetary inflation.

There are a million and 1 problems with the difficulties and rigours of public funding.  However, bottom line, they were created to provide asisstance for people in need.  The rules are quite strict, and there are seemingly endless threats of possible ways to *poof* lose your funding.  However, I've come to realize much of these difficulties have come about through poor implementation, or grievances caused individuals not understanding the system.

I think back to US history and social studies courses in high school, and while I agree there is a certain need to understand our heritage, I cannot get over the fact, that we are not required to learn more about the use and implementation of govrtnment programming.  If we have federal aid programs available, for nearly every purpose, why isn't there better dissemination of these programs?  we are always going to have our own misgivings, dependent on our own situations.  That will always be true,but clearly we have gone awry somewhere in the succession of arriving to the social plague American society currently suffers from.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Story of a lifetime

Today I went in for my annual Physiatry appointment.  I see my physiatrist, and neurologist annually at this point.  It's a question and answer session basically?  How's your mood?  Are you experiencing difficulty focusing?  Any changes since last year?

Without fail, I have always been against the use of a neuro stimulant.  Throughout my progression, and rehabilitation, I've been fortunate to gain a perspective of watching myself grow, relearn, and adapt to my surroundings as if I'm growing up again.  Somedays it's an infuriating perspective, as I'm nearly 30, and I'm relearning social norms, traing myself to walk, run, react in a timely fashion, and speak clearly.  Of course there are days I don't even want to face the world, yet I get up, and go out, and often meet amazing people on those days.  It's been a difficult spring, as I'm more aware of who I am now, yet I still don't have a handle on what to do with the rest of my life.  It's like when I graduated from college, and didn't have any idea what to do next.  Things fell into place for me, just in time to acquire the most unique,brain injury out there.  I mean really, who takes Yaz (a contraceptive), and expects their heart to stop?  Certainly, not me, or anyone else out there.  I recently learned I am not the only woman to suffer a sudden cardiac arrest as a result of this drug.  Sadly, it seems I might be the only survivor, though.  Apparantly, there is little to no research regarding cell death from lack of Oxygen (Anoxia).  That caused my brain damage.  Frankly, I'd prefer to be single parent, over the single survivor of severe cerebral anoxia.  The hardest part of this injury for me, is it's inconsistency.  The random tremors that toss me on the ground, without warning, the way my visual accuracy can differ with each day, how much my vocal clarity can differ from one moment to the next.  

With most other injuries, if you break, or tear something, your body can attempt to heal itself, in time.  That's my perspective on this injury too.  It took me 3 years to sell my car, because I believed my vision would recover. (I was initially blind from this injury).  Clearly, much of my vision has pieced back in, and for that, I am so thankful, however, I don't see myself safely behind the wheel of a car anytime soon, because I cannot react to anything, in time, to save myself.  I fall too often to keep track of.  My approach is, if no one saw, it didn't happen.  Although, my consistent bruses, and road rash indicate otherwise.  Physically, I can say that I have a definitive faith in my ability to improve.  I would rather afford myself the opportunity to push, and test my abilities, and likely get hurt in that process, than sit, and wallow in a pit of despair.  We all have good days, and bad days.  It just so happens that ny bad days are profoundly more so, because I can't trust my body to do what I ask it, in a timely, or effective manner.  My mental hang-ups increase ten-fold, as I've learned from experience, that I cannot trust myself.  Although, through all of the pain, tears, and frustration, I have seen myself improve.  I've learned to walk, and run again, without help (sometimes).  It may not be consistent, but it keeps me going.  Life is about testing yourself, accomplishing new things, and taking pride in where you're at, and how far you've come, even if there's still a long road ahead, we have to appreciate the journey.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Total Recall

Wednesday morning, I was up early, walking in town.  Ihad plans to meet a friend for breakfast.  We had agreed on a place called Misery Loves Company.  I'd only heard great things about them, and was excited to try them.  Mind you, I am not in any way, shape, or form, a morning person. 7'is my normal rising time, not my be dressed, and walking out the door time.  I said I'd walk because I know I need that time to assess myself, and my surroundings.  I am rather unpleasant as a conversationalist, if I just roll out of bed, and meet you.  I figured it would be nice to walk a short distance that early.  However, I was apparantely incorrect. On auto pilot, as I crossed 4 lanes of early morning traffic.  Somebody, is apparantely less of a cheery morning person than I, and proceeded tocurse at me, as I trundled by.  I stopped to smile, and wave, and the car beside him waved back.  I decided to walk, and take my chances with early morning road rage. If you're going to be rude, I'm going to focus on finding everything I can do, to walk as slowly,  and carefully as possible.  It's a gamble, I realize, but if you hit me, your life will be a lot worse too.  I think the traffic pattern in this town is idiotic and senseless.  I also still have not come to an understanding with my brain, and how it flakes out on me, at seriously inconvenient times.  Although, I'd appreciate it, if my first communication of the day, was not being cursed at, because you can't wait 30-60 seconds for me to pick a route I feel safe walking.  Whatever, you've probably forgotten this particular interaction, as you've likely repeated it multiple times since then.

Moving on, I walked into a restaurant that clearly wasn't open yet.  Their doors were open, but everything was neatly stacked, so I asked when they opened, and immediately realized my mistake.  The bake shop part of this merchant was back on my street.  I'd braved rush hour traffic for nothing, and now had to do it again.  As I walked back down the hill, a man passed me, stopped, turned back, and said my name.  I wasn't interested in trying to figure out how I knew him,  in that moment.  though, I did feel guilty, because he knew me from my old life, and I wasn't willing to take the time then, to put the pieces together.  I continued on, and had a great breakfast with Zetty.  A lot can happen, in a quick walk to meet a friend.
----------------------------

I awoke the next morning, Thursday, to, eat, wripte a couple emails, and set off for PT.  I worked on some rigorous (to me) balance exercises, and then headed off to do the rest of my routine independently.  As I was doing one of the exercises, it occurred to me, exactly who the man on the street the day before was.  He'd said, his name,and that I knew him from Fletcher Allen, and my brain said, I think they called him 'mcdreamy.'  (As in Patrick Dempsey  charachter from Greys Anatomy.)  Though, I looked at him, and thought, 'that's odd, he doesn't look like Patrick Dempsy, I must be confused, AHH, big, loud truck in traffic circle!  Don't freeze/fall!'  I recovered from my fear freeze, and we said goodbye, and I concentrated on crossing the street again. 

 I see people from my old life, intermittently, and can rarely place them in the moment.  A couple years ago, a teenager, came up to me, and said, 'hi Courtney, it's Katie'.  I had no recollection of who she was.  About a week later, I realized I had been her babysitter.  Their mom had to be into work by 7, so I went over, woke them up, got the cereal, reminded them to get their things, and brought them to school.  In that moment, I realized how far I still have to go, to get back to being that responsible.  

When this man told me who he was, I knew I would put the pieces together, and I did.  Now, I'm very moved, that he recognized me on the street, nearly 8 years after his group of interns rounded, on the general surgery unit, where I was the secretary.  He was the only one patient enough to answer my coding questions, or who didn't mind translating handwriting.  I just wish I had put it all together,yesterday, on the street.  I always feel horribly rude admitting I have no recollection of people, I used to see often. All in due time, I suppose.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Super scary soul vibration

The above is a random line, or title of a Lenny Kravitz song.



Welcome to my strange, and twisted mind...
This morning I was out meandering the streets of my tiny  city, at the unacceptable time of 6:45.  I had made plans to catch up with my friend Zetty over breakfast.  Breakfast is hands down, my favorite meal out, always has been.  The plan was to check out Misery loves company's bake shop.  Unfortunately for me, I'd forgotten the bake shop was specified.  I raved traffic hell (welcome to Winnooski) for nothing.  I shuffled through 4 lanes at a cross walk, and continued up the hill.  Upon walking in, I immediately realized they weren't open for the day yet, and was sent back to the street I'd walked over from.   I walked outside, and called my friend to let her know I'd be late. Good thing though, as the call, woke her up. It made me feel better about my tardiness, as I knew it'd take 15 minutes to get through the circle again.  Winnooski has this asinine traffic circle that no one actually seems to comprehend how to drive in. In Maine we refer to a traffic circle, as a rotary.  I'm fairly certain the rest of the country follows suit in saying rotary.  In a Vermont, it's a traffic circle, and no one seems to understand the traffic patterns or rules to abide by, for making it a useful traffic pattern.m my next letter should be to the DOT, regarding the thoughtlessness behind the circle.

I finally hot to the correct location, ordered good, and just after I'd taken my first bite, my friend walks in, says hi, and asks 3 questions in succession.  I'm awkwardly trying to nod my head yes or no, to wussy ions that can't be answered that way.  Once I can speak without fear of spewing croissant everywhere, we decide to sit outside in the morning sun, and delightful sounds of road rage, a few hundred feet away.

I'm at the age where it seems 95% of people in my age group, are either getting married! having kids! and/or buying homes.  I got to hear all about the antics surrounding a mutual college friends wedding.  Then it's my turn to share what I've been up to, and howi answer this question, is completely dependent on my mood, and emotions of the moment. I say usually say, 'okay', or 'good', and change the subject.  Trust me, it's easier than hashing out the widely flawed governs programs I currently participate in, or have.  However, over coffee, I'm feeling pretty open about it, and try yo explain the various prgrams, and departments I'm affiliated with, through the state.  This now seems like I may have dropped a truckload of information on her, about every program,  the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Sometimes I'm listening to what I'm trying to say, while simultaneously wondering how I know about it.  This conversation was one of those moments, how bizarre.

As I'm blundering through my soliloquy of program difficulties, a woman nearby calls out to me, and I look over to see my neighbor, and former writing coach.  She's a wonderful, inventive, and talented woman, however,has also had the unfortunate opportunity to venture into neurological difficulties by way of  negative side effects from  a medication. I felt a pinge of guilt, over having said some negative things about the department I'd originally met her through.  Such is life.

After breakfast,  my aide Marc helped me get to my psychology appointment.  In my usual fashion, I mixed up the time, and left right before my appointment began.  I'm heading into the library,  when she calls, and arks where I went.  Gold stars for me...

My final event of the day, was PT.  I realized I felt a bit slow today, but am starting to get a bit more control in some of my new exercises, despite my slothfulness.  However slow and inconsistent my progress is, each time I have this realization, my spirits profoundly improve.

And now I'm writing it all down, hoping to one day find my purpose in this path.  My days are full, and generally happy enough, I've just lost sight of what exactly I'm currently working towards.  And that,my friends, plain,old sucks.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Marathon madness

Vermont City Marathon, what can I say?

The organizers an volunteers put so much into pulling off this fantastic event.  I'd signed up to do the final leg again this year. My dad came out to participate, and be my safety net, if need be.  On Saturday, we attended the race expo.  The highlight for me was attending a talk by Colleen Kelly Alexaner.  She was hit by an 18 wheeler, while cycling, and is still out there pushing her limits.  Se also survived cardiac arrest, though hers were due to dramatic blood loss, whereas mine was due to enzyme imbalance.  By no means do I envy her story of survival, though I'd love to be able to say I got a brain injury from being hit by a Mack truck, no, 't I have a brain injury because I didn't put enough consideration into the contraceptive l took (Yaz), and it caused my heart to stop, and deprived my brain of oxygen.  People stare blanly for a reson, it doesn't make sense.   I have the least cool or badass sounding reason for a brain injury. 

 The next morning, my dad and I convened at the gym where I do PT, to get our bibs, and make a plan with the other teammates.  After almost an hour passed, we bailed to grab a 'super healthy' pre-race breakfast at the Skinny Pancake.  If I ever get to the point where I'm able to push myself aerobicaly while running, I could never go out for breakfast pre-race, though a 4.5 mile jog, I could handle my egg and cheese crepe, and feel alright.  However, there was a door handle incident, I did not handle well.  I was returning from the bathroom, and as I opened the back door to go  into the restaurant, the guy behind me rips the door out of my hand, I assume in an effort to helpful.  However the way my wrist was aligned with the door, it became jammed in the handle, and was dragged forward unexpectedly.  Serious pain.  I instantly had to resist the urge to start blindly cursing, as the pain hit, accompanied by a bizarre tingling.  The guy apoligized but I was already crying, and hoping I could still push the jogger with it.  Thankfully, the initial pain dissipated as we got ice on it.  As we left, my dad wrapped the wrist in a towel.  As I'd forgotten sunscreen, I received a pretty special tan, resembling a gauntlett.  Good stuff, I'd forgotten how much sunburns suck, I can't remember having a burn that aggressive.  Oh well, lesson learned, always have sunscreen on hand.

We waited at the hand-off area for nearly an hour.  Just as I decided to visit the bathroom again, they came in.  I was pretty mad at myself for not going earlier, not a great mindset to start off in.  Most of the runners who passed were toast, and unable to respond to encouragement, or questions.  Though a fair number encouraged me, in passing.  Much of the final leg is on the bike path, next to Lake Champlain, which offers a slightly cooler breeze.  I imagine we finished earlier than last year, as there was still pizza, loads of food, as well as free massages.  I felt sheepish approaching the massage tent for running 5 miles, but they weren't busy, and willingly accepted us.

The glory of doing the last leg, was realized by me for the first time this year.  I'm not great at dealing with crowds, though I did see several local college friends, which made it super exciting to catch up with them.

As things started to look like they were wrapping up, we took my friend Ann's offer, to come over, and visit.  I had to resist the urge to mock the 19th century hand powered mower she was using.  It's actually brilliant as there are no emissions, and you, the user, is the only power it requires.  I love that it's her choice of mowers, but I still want to mock it.  So badly.

In my true form, I neglected to lift my foot high enough to compsate for the door jam, and fell down.  Thankfully, Ann has known me a long time, and is used to my clumsiness.  She and my dad pulled me back up, and we continued inside.  I listened to shop talk about home renovations.  It was somewhat amusing, as they are each so humble about their accomplishments.  I suppose we were all well matched in the clumsiness department.  I often forget how easy it is to hurt yourself, for anyone.  Probably because I happen to do it so requently.  I generally wear clothes that cover my arrays of scrapes and contusions, so people don't have the opportunity to realize how often I fall, or walk into things, or anything else. My least favorite part of summer, is the number of concerned comments, or questions I get, regarding my minor injuries.  Although I appreciate that people are concerned, because it reminds me of my own idiocy. I don't generally respond to the concern, as well as I should.  I'm relearning or attempting to receive these questions more gracefully.  In 2011 I managed to acquire 11 black eyes, many fom falling, and not having the reaction to put out my hands.  That's a learned physical reaction we acquire to protect our faces/heads.  Trust me, that was not a fun reaction to learn to reacquire.  Although, everytime I fall now, and my hands go out, I'm beyond thankful for the brains plasticity.  

In conclusion, it was a fantastic race weekend, I got to see my family, and old friend.  I got to be part of  a great race, and meet some incredible people along the way.