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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

VCMarathon?

On Saturday, I was texting a friend I knew was running in the marathon, despite not having time to train, and wishing her luck, when she asked if I wanted to run with her. I replied only if she could get me a bib, thinking she. Probably just wanted company, but Not wanting to stick out for not having a race bib. I already knew 'strollers ' weren't allowed, and didn't want to be part of the mess as a crazy tagging along with no baby in her jogger. Turns Luther friend wasn't participating, and she had a bib I could wear. I took a cab to the start line, and I almost always ride with green cab, so, by now they know my deal, and treat me well. My driver was so excited for me, when I told her I was going to try to run it. I think I got my first ever, and probably only free cab ride because she was so excited for me. That was an amazing start to my day, and some of my fears washed away. And then, I stood at the top of Depot St. Where the race begins, and waited. And called my friend, and waited. Then began freaking out, I'd be running alone, or have wasted time and money if she didn't show. Then, she appeared, at the top of Depot St. Because I'm always the one whose late for everything, I'm not used to being early, and waiting for people. I was soo relieved when I saw her coming up the hill.
She put my bib on me, which said, "BRING THE HEAT" which made me so happy, as I'd figured it would say the gals name whose bib it was. It was absolutely amazing the supporters were. One of the most ridiculous moments was right of the bat, when one of the radio djs spotted my jogger, and says'oh my god, there's no baby, Ma'am you've lost your baby. After ayesr using this thing, I'm kind of used to that kind of camaraderie. I did my typical cake look of shock, towards the stand, mouthing 'oh no' and then turned around, somewhat embarrassed. That made it extremely real. For me.

Getting underway takes somewhat of an eternity in large races, at least when you're in the back, which I always am. It was a great tour of Burlington, marathons must be a great way to learn a new city! We went up in the more east part of the city first, doing our first shortcut, thanks to Burlington PD, who tools us where to meet up with the pack. We then ran up Church St, and headed to the Old North End, to run up and down the belt-line, which was the part of the race I was looking forward to, as it's smooth, and there are no potential jogger hazards. However, I'd previously thought the belt line was flat. It's not, so Ran down, about 2 miles, and stem stealthily turned around, well before the actual turn around. I was reluctant to do that, but the idea of 127 being opened to traffic was relatively terrifying. After 127, we ran back down curch st. Where I shocked myself, and I'm sure countless others, by the number of people who yelled my name as I ran by. The support was incredible, and the spectators made my day. One of my favorite parts was reading the signs, people made. We agreed, "Run like you stole something" was our favorite, but,it made the marathon far more entertaining. The houses with folks spraying with a hose, was pretty spectacular too. Running down Pine St. Was fantastic too. The marathon also takes you down the bike path along the lake. It was hard talking myself out of taking a siesta on the beach, as we went by. I felt guilty taking up so much space on the bike path, as runners weaves around me. People were largely accommodating, but it didn't quell my annoyance with it. Toward the beginning, we'd been going down Main St. were an older woman, straight up called me out about the fact that strollers are illegal in the marathon. Here demeanor was such that I wasn't willing to contain my sharpness, "Notice there's no baby, this is an adaptive device because I have a brain injury". Not sure if she understood everything I said, but she took off, and I was happy not to run by her again. I didn't go expecting people to accommodate me, as I'm obviously not competitive, but I wasn't about to let people step on me either. Aside from that one interaction, I still can't get over how accommodating other runners were, cheering me on as they passed. This mentality is one of the biggest reasons I work so hard to run. I'm obviously not a neurologist, but I'd place money on running triggering something in the brain, that takes people down a notch, in terms of being so strung out. Suppose that would be the runners high.
We ran up to the high school, immediately turning in, and not heading up on course. I really wanted to, as I was really enjoying running in the middle of the road, though, my energy level was clearly dwindling. Minor victory in that I recognized that, as I'm not always aware I'm crashing, until it's too late. We hit the bike path in the thick of the masses, again. Getting back on the path wasn't too difficult though, as there was a water station right there, and people were slowed, or standing. If I'd been your average runner, I would've loved the bike path, for the amazing view, well as the occasional breeze. As we scrambled to cross the finish line, people were so enthusiastic. I, of course, tripped on one of the sensor blocks, falling in front of throngs of people. Miraculously, it may have been the only fall I took, though, not only was it horrendously embarrassing to fall at the finish, bût, I also cut myself, so I had a very dramatic finish. That is, apparently, my lot in life. Pretty sure I had a similar fall at Beach to Beacon last year, so smooth.
Après 'marathon' activities included a trip to the medic tent, pizza, and ice cream, which, for me are beyond unappealing, after pushing my body so hard. There was also a beer tent, but I couldn't go near it. I was lucky to hold the pizza down. I don't know how people hold these foods down, after depleting themselves so fully. When I started running, at age 12, I quickly made a name for myself as the girl who puked mid run. Extremely attractive race behavior. Thank god, I haven't done that in years, but, it's still a vivid memory for me.
After food, came massages for the runners. This is, without a doubt, the most ingenious plan race planners have ever come up with. Helps loosen up the muscles, and feels wonderful. I wish my muscles felt that relaxed today, but what can you do?
A huge thank you to the runners, Ann in particular, who suffered through feeding me, while moving, and discarding objects in my path I couldn't get around, crowd control. and morale. It couldn't have been a better race day if we'd planned it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Walk for Thought?

So, today was the Brain Injury associations annual fundraising walk. I was extremely well intentioned with it, but am quite certain I dropped the ball in a few ways, and having this awareness of the things I should've prepared for my team, and having done no fundraising, was like icing on the failure cake for me. I was also well aware that most of my close friends from UVM were at a wedding, reliving our amazing, without a care in the world, years of college. I didn't expect to get an invite, but I have to say the ugly green jealousy monster-appeared in my head. I knew I should be focused on the walk, and it's festivities, but I just kept getting so nostalgic for old friends. I have more people in my life now, who genuinely care about my well-being, then I have in the past 3 yrs, and somehow, I'm feeling more alone, and more isolated than ever. I think the difference is, that I used to prefer my independence, whereas now. I've come to terms with who I am, but because I've hidden away, I no longer feel like I still have those old supports. My goal for this week, is to try to begin mending old friendships. On second thought that seems terrifying. I am such a baby, and need to get over myself, and find out whose still around.
When I got back, I decided it was too hot to garden, like I'd planned, so just as I started moping, my phone rang. I was genuinely, and pleasantly surprised to see it was my step-dad Marty calling. He's not a caller, as he usually has a wicked hard time understanding my voice. He asks what I'm up to. The wording of this statement leads me to believe he's nearby. Turns out, he's been gambling with Pat Flynn, and wants me to come to camp with the Flynns. We all go, and have a wonderful time, but it was a bit weird, as well for me, as my last memory from camp is from way back when, and Sean was around, helping me participate in the redneck activities of choice, like shooting a bb gun, and taking the 4 wheeler for a spin. And so there I was, surrounded by loving, bright people, and yet I just felt so alone. On the bright side, the company was enjoyable, and the bonfire, magical. Having a bit of my family nearby, was pleasantly grounding.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Working with youth conference

I started my Thursday, at the unappealing hour of 6. I knew I had to be out the door, and dressed like a real person, at 745. I move so profoundly slowly in the morning, I knew I would need a lot of time. I got dressed, and went to the kitchen for a pre-breakfast. My roommate was up too, and says, "good morning, and just so you know, your shirt is on backwards, and your fly is unzipped." I fixed my clothes, and by then my ride was there. But, I was extremely thankful, she'd been there in that moment.
I was definitely nervous arriving, as this was not my usual circle of people, and I had no idea what to expect, nor, who would be there. It turned out that CHIPS entire staff was there, and I met so many wonderful people there. It felt like such a relief to be a part of something vocationally related, that was not about my brain injury. I was impressed by the keynote speaker Bobby ------- , the author of "Its not just who you know.". He spoke about his childhood, and never being made to feel like he could succeed in a intellectual career. He was willing to step outside of his comfort zone, and has achieved the most incredible successes. Definitely one of the most engaging speakers, I've ever seen. I know that I was hanging on every word, which is pretty rare for me. I often find it difficult to focus and pay attention after a certain point, always have. After , we adjoined, I went to what I thought was my first workshop, although, as soon as it started, I realized it was not, but felt rude leaving, as I had already introduced myself. It was a Q&A with the keynote speaker. I was pleased to hear more of his story, but that work shop adjourned early, so he could make his flight home. Not really having anywhere to be for an hour, I walked around for a bit, before settling down for lunch, where some of CHIPS staff doing a presentation on the recent unwashed weekend, they'd worked with MTV to put on. I wasn't part of that, at all, but was really proud to be a part of the organization. They did a great job with the presentation. Although, people kept asking me about it for the rest of the day, as my name tag, clearly stated what organization I was with.

After lunch, I had chosen a double session workshop, about group facilitation. This group was so light-hearted, and open, despite the fact that I move like a troll, and have dysarthria in my voice. It was so refreshing! I rarely feel at ease in professional settings, so this was really wonderful. By the time I got home, I was so drained. Really made me realize I don't socially interact enough. I've gotten so much better, but it shouldn't be so tiring for me. Yuck, soo much to work on. Though, such an amazing feeling to feel like I'm helping make a positive contribution, I just need my grants come through!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Full speed ahead!

My day began far too early for my normal standards. I got up at 630, out on real clothes, abridged my hair! Hillary was at the door,promptly at 730, and for once in my life, iras ready and waiting. Breakfast is somewhat of a motivator for me, I will admit. Somehow, I'd gotten Hillary to agree to accompany me to an awards breakfast for Burlington Partnership for a drug free community. When I lived with the Flynns, Kathy would drag me out of bed at 530 and drag me along. Funny how things change.
Unfortunately for me, I had another appointment at 830, so I missed the actual awards, but heard Mariah's opening remarks, as well as Burlington's new mayors, endorsement of this program, and all the steps their taking to have advertising of substance abusing products be removed from stores. Not being a user of either, I don't end to see advertising that I don't feel pertains to me. Though, I'm sure this has an enormous effect on young, impressionable students. I thought it was a very positive step in the right direction, and hope that one day, all convenience stores will follow suit, despite the fact, it will likely cause decreased profits.
Next, Burlington's new mayor addressed the group, endorsing the groups work towards positive change. The new mayor is young, attractive, and appears to be forward thinking and confident about bringing positive change to Burlington. It's a refreshing change, I'm happy to see Burlington become more progressive.
Sadly, as awards began, I had to leave for a standing appointment at 830. Often, being up for that is a challenge, on it's own. I think because I was excited to have breakfast plans, it was no problem. I said my goodbyes, running into the Flynn, extended family on the way out. I then saw the rehab. Psychologist, I'm supposed to see weekly, to help me cope with life now, or something. I would much rather have a standing PT appointment each week, but the state feels people in rehab. should share their feelings, which I just don't seem to able to do well. After, I had a booked a ride to the track at UVM. By this point it was cold, rainy, and one to ing outside. I used to love to run in the rain. The jogger, makes it too unsafe, so I haven't been in years. I went, and ran 6 miles, and was so happy, every step I took!
I took the bus home, and ate anything I had, and took a nap, before going back downtown to a walk for thought planning meeting. The fundraiser event, for the brain injury association VT, is this week. I feel like a bit of a failure, as I formed a team, but did no fundraising, because the website never let's me login, and I give up. Yay technology. Oh well, should be a good event, and hopefully promote awareness.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Change?

I spent a good portion of my day today, revamping this blog. Something I've wanted to do for a while, though, not having a computer with a visible screen made it somewhat difficult in recent months. Also, not being willing to put aside enough time to stare at the computer screen all day long. It's not very difficult for the average viewer, but it takes my brain longer to realize exactly what it's looking at. So much for a decent reaction time. At lest I can see at all. It seems so strange to look back over the last 5! years, well almost. But it sure feels like more of an eternity, at this point. I suppose today's post is more of a pondering, than me writing about of the ridiculous situations life seems to present me with.
One of my co-workers at CHIPS recently sent out a link to a website losing 15 things we should ALL work on giving up. I love the staff at CHIPS for do many reasons, but having the reassurance to share a piece like this in your community of coworkers is well The bomb. The link is:
http://www.purposefairy.com/3308/15-things-you-should-give-up-in-order-to-be-happy/
I hope you guys check out this link. It's a quick list, but profoundly lists my least favorite tendencies of people, in general, ad (I hope) helps us to consider ways to work on our major negative tendencies.
I know for myself personally, giving up resistance to change really hit home for me. Obviously perfection is a scale many of us prefer to hold ourselves too, but at some point, hopefully, it becomes relatively clear, it's an IMPOSSIBLE standard, as we all have a different definition. If I lived in a perfect world, then my heart wouldn't have stopped, and I would have spent the last 41/2 years chomping at the bit, in brain injury rehab, refusing to recognize my cognitive disabilities. Though I also wouldn't have had the opportunity to show myself, and others, you can do anything (within reason) you set your mind to. Its like it says in that link. "The mind is a powerful tool, when used properly."

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sneaky shenanigans...

I was ready to try and find my turn for what I consider to be a fairly standard week, for myself anyways. I worked, or went to my internship on Monday, came home and met up with some girlfriends I knew from the dorms at UVM. Back in the day... It was so wonderful to reconnect with that group. group of ladies! We all hung out for a bit, deliberating over how to make blue soup, to commemorate that evenings movie, Bridget Jones Diary. A blueberry sauce was created, in lieu of soup, as there was flan. Not quite a blue string soup, though much more appetizing. It was a fun, comfortable way for me to socialize with old friends. I was so happy to just hang out and not feel like I was on the spot to talk about my strange and unusual tales of my life presently. Tuesday, I met with sisstive technology, an appointment Michelle, my job coordinator has been trying for 6 months to get for me, to make the most of the iPad. Although late, she had an evident passion for working in that capacity. Her enthusiasm and vigor about each tool of toy in the office was contagious. We were there for 3 hours, asking, 'what's this?' about nearly every gadget. Did you know that there a tool to help someone without the use of their hands, write with their toes? So cool what people figure out, out of necessity. That night, my cold was disgusting, but I attended the walk forethought planning meeting, guiltily trying not spread my germs. Were meeting every week now, as the walk is in 2 weeks. Yikes. Wednesday, I convinced Deb, my case manager, to drop me off at the track, after our morning meeting. Hillary collected me, and we zipped over to small dog, the apple store, to thoroughly confuse them with a ridiculous list of what each of us wanted done to 3 computers. I sadly parted ways with my black MacBook, which got in 2007 as a graduation present. It needed to be replaced last year, but I've been getting by on the iPad. Because Hillary had to replace her computer from a recent car accident, we had the old one checked out, and it was still getting by. I was the fortunate recipient of the old machine. I'm feeling technologically savvy now that all of my I devices talk to my computer. It's a whole new world. She just updated my life by 3 years. So amazing!! Technology moves so fast these days. That evening, CHIPS, where I'm interning, held a small awards banquet. I didn't really want to go alone, but the people I'd asked, had other obligations. I got out of the car, and there's my dad. Such a fun surprise! I never know what to expect anymore. We hung oût and mingled briefly before everything began. I sat down choking away on cheese and suddenly to realize I was being introduced first, even though my name was last on the list. I stood up in front of the crowd still chewing. So impressionable. I was so excited to be recognized as a staff member! Even though my position is basically volunteer. All of the programs CHIPS dabbles in were individually recognized for their work. It was so inspirational to watch short feature movies touting CHIpS programs, all made by high-school students. We then launched into awards. Staff aren't eligible, and even though, I receive $4.50/hr. from the state, I consider myself an employee. Though, because the state pays me, I think of myself as an employee, as I'm being reimbursed, even if slightly, fir my time. Anyways, I received 'giraffe' award for sticking my neck out for the organization. Such a fun, inspirational group if people there, I certainly didn't feel like I was all that deserving, but am obviously pleased to take what I can get, or earn. We all, literally had our cake. I am not one to turn down double chocolate fudge cake. I literally inhaled it, as I hadn't had a chance to eat dinner. The cake did an excellent job with subsiding those pesky hunger pangs. To remedy my not having eaten dinner, Dad and I went to Al's for quick burgers. Soon as I walked into my apartment, I fell into bed. A looong, though excellent day!< Thursdays, Hillary and I work out seriously. She picks me up at 8, and all 3 of us went to start the day with yoga. Dad then treated us to breakfast at a Greek diner. I gobbled up my French Toast, as if I hadn't eaten in days. I had planned to check out a job fair, a mental health and human services non profit called the Howard Center. The agency itself us an amazing enterprise, and I have connections, through friends there. Although, I found zero positions I was either interested or qualified for. Disappointing, though I was glad I went for the experience and exposure. As we were leaving, Small Dog, the Mac store called to tell me my computer was ready. Dad met us there. He's slowly coming to the light side. Hillary registered for user courses, which made me think that would be good idea, as I've live in my private black hole for almost 5 years now, it's not an option presently. Nor, am I struggling with my computer, my new computer (not yet anyways). Someday, I'll figure it all out...
After, we hit the track so I could run. We did 3, and zipped over to power yoga. I was pretty well spent by then, electing not to participate in many of the standing poses. As soon as the class ended, we parted ways, and I tried to take my dad to the tacoria, as I went to last week, but the wait was absurd. We had burritos instead. After dinner, we returned, and spent half the night playing with our new toys. I received an unexpected present of an iHome to play music from the iPad or phone. Oh the wonder of technology. I'm so pleased everything syncs now! Big deal for me! I will at last, no longer have to endure the endless tirade my psychologist likes to put on. I've easily spent about 35% of my appointments listening to the paramount reasons apple technology can 'save' my life, and how I need to update my technology. I finally have been able to, so a huge thank you to Hillary, for her charitable donation!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Weekend Strangeness...

I must say there are certain details bout living in a monstrous apartment complex, that are not enviable. Actually, I have a plethora of them, though, today I'm only focusing on one. Which is what I refer to as the curiosity factor, among other things. This is my 3rd year living in this apartment complex apartment. In that time, I've realized that the majority of my 'neighbors' know exactly which apartment is mine. It's a little weird , but I'm not exactly concerned.
A little over a year ago, I was awkwardly shlepping some groceries back to my building, when someone Offered to carry My groceries for me. I begtudginly let him take them, although I was in my typical independent mode, where I wanted to do things for myself, and, therefore, was less than pleased some man had literally taken my groceries out of my hands. I shiftily answered his questions, as we walked, and, was less than pleased to make him aware of which apartment was mine. Didn't think there was any reason to worry, but. Still. Over the next several month he would occasionally drop by to say hello, invite me to eat with him and His friend. He took care of. I was never able to join him, nor did I particularly want to. Eventually he dropped by to say that he was moving, and I assumed that would be the end of our interaction.

Nope. 2 weeks ago, while my mom and dad were visiting, he drops by to say hello. I was rather surprised to see him in the first place, and in my effort to get him to leave, I caved, and accepted a lunch invitation. Let's just say, it's pretty awkward when you agree To meet someone, and have forgotten when they come to meet you. I'm at home parading about in my running spandex, scavenging for food when I hear a Knock at the door. When I opened the door, I was relatively surprised to see him there. I felt very rude admitting I'd forgotten I'd agreed to lunch. I quickly put on real pants. We went to this bar/restaurant in Mallets Bay. The conversation was your classic getting to know you type. About 2 sentences, after I heard about his grandchildren, he mentioned dating. I literally started choking, and pounding on my chest to reopen the airway. At that moment I profusely wished I wasn't so nieve. Not once, had it occurred to me, a Sunday lunch invitation could be a date. I immediately explained that I currently had no interest in dating him or anyone really, as I needed to focus on my rehab, hoping I'd dodged the bullet. Nope. He replies, "well as soon as you're ready, I hope you'll let me know." I immediately changed the conversation. Without a doubt, one of the most awkward situations I've ever found myself in. And I've already had more than my share, I say. He was very polite, and annoyingly chivalrous the entire time. I'm always fighting this crazy urge I have to kick people who demand to do everything for me. So there I am, on what I didn't intended to be a date, and I've basically just shot this guy down, though he's responded understandingly. He asks to take my arm as I take a step down, out of the building, and I begrudgingly allow it. No sooner have we stepped outside, the 2 men by the door, seize the opportunity to proclaim how sweet it is to see us together. I was overwhelmed by a need to vomit, and respond rudely, so I shot him a nasty look and bit my tongue. We got into the car and even though I wanted to go home, I found myself agreeing to walk down to North Beach. So awkward, and ridiculous, I was curious as to why you'd suggest another activity, after being shot down, but this was on me, since I'd agreed to go there. I'm sure any woman reading this, thinks I'm a moron for going to another place, buy I never felt vulnerable, just apprehensive and slightly angry about being so unassuming. I got home, and immediately ran away from my thoughts and confusion at the track.