It’s a Beautiful Day

Mother Earth decided to skip spring and head straight into summer weather. Two days ago the weather was in the 20’s. Today it hit mid- 70’s. Okay, okay, it is still spring. But what a difference! I ran in shorts and a t-shirt today for the first time since before Christmas! Not to mention, rode in similar attire. It’s about time!

I just got back from my first group ride of the season–last year, the first one was in the beginning of March– and it’s great to be riding with a bunch of riders through the woods. The fact that the sun now sets around 7:40 adds to the greatness. Group rides means spring is really here.

Riding at Taconic 909

Riding at Taconic 909

In the sneakers category, I’m trying to decide on whether to run the Lake George Half Marathon in two weeks…It’s my next weekend “off” and would be a lovely weekend away; affording an opportunity to go back to a place I used to spend summers. It would also allow Kevin and I to do some more exploring of the area–which is something we’ve decided we need to do more, as there is a plethora of activities and sites in our area that we have not explored.

Last weekend, we ventured to Stockbridge, MA to visit the Norman Rockwell museum. For any art enthusiast, or American who may be familiar with Norman Rockwell, this museum is fascinating. During the summer, you can visit his last art studio (we were unable to visit it as, despite the lovely weather, it isn’t quite summer yet).

Kevin next to Norman Rockwell's 1965 Rudge--Kevin has the same one at home

Kevin next to Norman Rockwell’s 1965 Rudge–Kevin has the same one at home

Norman Rockwell (front) riding his Rudge through Stockbridge--a painting he composed

Norman Rockwell (front) riding his Rudge through Stockbridge–a painting he composed

Norman Rockwell: incredible

Norman Rockwell: incredible

We also checked out a special church…Kevin had to see it…It was on his “Bucket List” (well not really, but he acted as if it was). I grew up where we had Thanksgiving on a day when my mother did not work and had time to bake a feast, so when he mentioned a Thanksgiving song, I was at an utter loss as to what he was talking about. Perhaps you know?

Arlo Guthries's "Alice's Restaurant"

Arlo Guthries’s “Alice’s Restaurant”

I do not see the connection between the song and this building, as this is a church, not a restaurant….But I obliged in Kevin’s desire to take a picture.

On the food aspect of life, I’ve realized I love baking (which may have already been apparent to those who read this blog–sometimes it takes me a while to realize things). I baked my first donuts for Easter–Carrot cake donuts with cream cheese frosting!

My colleagues at work have been quite happy with my love of baking, as they are the main recipients of the end products. I have yet to meet a healthcare worker who does not devour fresh baked goods when offered to them.

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Carrot cake cupcakes with marzipan carrots

Carrot cake cupcakes with marzipan carrots

Lemon blueberry cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting, and strawberry cupcakes with buttercream

Lemon blueberry cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting, and strawberry cupcakes with buttercream

Caught in the act of my baking craze

Caught in the act of my baking craze

…Who knows, perhaps when the spirit moves me, I’ll add recipes to this blog as well.

Outside of biking, running, and baking, I was able to plant seeds in the garden today. Like last years crop, I hope to have sugar snap peas and sunflowers. I decided to add wild flowers in a patch where my carrots did not grow last year.

Lastly, I’ve been experimenting with fashion. I’ve been wearing:

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Fancy flats

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And fancy hats.

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Third Year’s a Charm

It’s hard to believe I’ve been in the Hudson Valley for three years already. Where did the time go? And what has happened?

I’ve gone through a variety of different sneakers…Some getting wet, others getting dirty.

I’ve endured scrapes, bruises, and tick bites.

Major ouch.

I survived my first road trip adventure, including sharp descents, rocks and roots.

I’ve made life long friends.

The Valley Girls

Best. Cousin. Ever.

I learnt how to make lemonade when life gave me lemons…Or juice out of berries.

I’ve taken lots of photos.

I watched things grow from seeds in my (first) garden.

I’ve gone for many rides.

Yes, all my bikes get used.

I’ve baked lots of cakes, both big and small, round and square.

I built my first bike, from scratch.

I expanded my family.

I met the love of my life…

Obsessed much?

Oh wait, I mean this love of my life.

I learnt it takes a strong person to compete in a race, and sometimes stronger one to know when to stop.

I was reminded how fun it is to dress up, and that every person is beautiful.

I learnt not to take myself too seriously.

I learnt how to ski, face my fear of open water swims, and mountain bike.

Most importantly I learnt that life goes on.

Thank you, to all of those whom I have met on this fabulous journey.

I’m Not Allowed to What?

There comes a time in every athlete’s life–hell, in everybody’s life–where they get injured. And no matter what the injury, there is usually some annoyance associated with it. The injury may be a paper cut. Small little slice, but you are always aware it’s on the top of the finger because there is a slight burning sensation whenever you wash your hands. Forget attempting to clean tools in any type of paint thinner or putting your hands in corrosive liquids–not that you might attempt such a task. (I have no idea where the cleaning of tools came from, either. I don’t clean power tools.) The injury might be a broken arm, or torn ACL. Most injuries though, happen as accidents. And, boy, can they really mess up your planned schedule.

I’m someone who plans. I enjoy spontaneity–it brings excitement to life–but I also feel more comfortable being able to look at a week and know what will (or should) happen everyday. I’m someone of a nut and have this fascination (that’s a more sane word for obsession) with calendars. I think I have four for 2011. All calendars have very similar tasks/ events marked in the boxes. Next to the events are smaller boxes, where I can tick off that I finished the task/event (you really need to read my friend’s blog–she shares some of my compulsive attributes–it’s like reading my own thoughts). My need for structure and somewhat overly detailed daily lists could be a post of their own.

I do not like when my schedule is disrupted and changes are made. Although, I am much better at dealing with changes now. I’ve learned to be adaptable to most situations and not freak out when something different happens. I guess that’s what happens when you work in a controlled chaotic work environment and things are constantly changing. And, as long as I am the one doing the modifications to my schedule, everything is a-okay.

This past week’s schedule, on the other hand, was modified by external factors, which I don’t like. On that note, the rest of the month’s schedule has had some changes made to it as well due to an accident. No, I was not biking, running, or swimming when this happened either. I was shoveling my stairs. S-h-o-v-e-l-i-n-g.  The act of moving snow from one place to another to get it out of your way. Due to the act of shoveling, I had an insult to my head causing some mild degree of loss of consciousness. In lay person terms, it means I slipped on the f-ing ice, hit my head against the stairs, and passed out.

Might I add, this happened the day after my scheduled yearly physical (which I strongly suggest everyone have–most insurances cover a free physical a year–definitely take advantage of that) where my doctor, who might be one of the rare physicians I can tolerate and admire, told me I was in fantastic shape, and wished his other patients could be more like me (come on, who does not want to be me?!?).

Less than twenty-four hours later, I had my non-scheduled visit to Northern Dutchess’ Emergency Department, all because of a little knock to the head.

This story does have a point, and I am getting to it slowly but surely.

I’m not a fan of hospitals. Scratch that. I’m not a fan of being a patient in a hospital. Furthermore, I’m not a fan of people telling me what I am and am not allowed to do. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer having people tell me what to do in work/ follow directions. But not when people tell me what to do with my life.

After hours in a painful neck brace (as the medical professionals were unsure of if I did any damage to my cervical spine when I fell, and I have no recollection of the first couple minutes after I hit my head), CT scans, an MRI, unexperienced nurses trying to start multiple IV’s (I prefer to keep my blood to myself, so make it hard for nurses/phlebolomists to access it…In the healthcare  field, I’m known as a “hard stick”), I found myself waiting anxiously behind a closed curtain in a cold emergency room, staring at the normal saline running into my AC. There was some disbelief in the fact that I was (1) it took three different nurses to start the IV after five attempts, even when I kept telling them to just go for my left arm because that’s where the veins are (they didn’t listen), (2) I was spending a day off work in a hospital and (3) that I had an injury while not training.

Finally, the ohsoverykind ED doctor decided to return and say hello and let me out of the incredibly uncomfortable C/S collar. Have I mentioned I worked in an ER and know what happens “behind the scenes,” making me somewhat impatient as a patient?

“Well, Molly. Good and bad news.Good news, scans are negative. No bleeding. Just a bump on the side of your head. With any head injury, it’s always more concerning when there is loss of some memory around the event, loss of consciousness, and vomiting–all which you had.”

I knew what news was coming before he continued to speak.

“Bad news is, you said you are training for a couple big races.”

“Yes.”

“That would explain why you have a resting heart rate of 52, which is good. Means your heart is in great shape.” Somehow I think he was veering off topic. This non-scheduled visit was because of my head, not my resting heart rate. I was annoyed.

“My medical advice is that you abstain from any physical activity for a while. We don’t know the extent of the damage, but after I what i just said, you did have some sort of brain injury, even if there was no evidence on the scans. Which means, no swimming, no biking. No running.”

“You’re telling me I’m not allowed to do those things? For how long?”

“I cannot stop you from doing what you do, but my advice is just to take it easy for a couple of weeks. You are a nurse, what would you tell your patients to do?”

Sigh, I hate when people say that, because I’m great at giving great advice that I never do myself. “You know, this really messes up my schedule.”

“I’m sorry.”

You get the point. He continued for another couple of minutes with discharge instructions and then finally stopped talking.

So, for four days, I’ve refrained from any physical activity, besides work. And, it’s driving me mad.

If you are an athlete who has been injured, you know how painful it is not to be able to do something you love. I’m antsy to get out and go for a run in this beautiful weather. Yes, I know it is freezing out. My bike misses me, I know it. I’m beginning to miss the taste of chlorinated water.

Long long story short (well, somewhat short), all will be well. But my training schedule must be modified. And  we’ll just have to see if I’ll be able to tolerate this lack of activity for much longer. Come visit my house, and you’ll notice it’s unusually clean, that all my clothes are now color coordinated (I noticed the majority of my jackets are orange, a blinding reflective color, or green–not weird at all), and I’ve baked more food than the inhabitants of Luxembourg could consume.

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away…But Not in My Job field

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As my Aussie side kick’s last day in upstate New York, unsure of what other activity we could do to show her the splendor of the state, and pretty sure she would not go on another bike ride with me ever again (let’s just say my idea of a “short ride” is not really a “short ride” to non-cyclists, and our last ride was a bit lengthy), I decided to bring her apple picking. It had been a horrible week, and I needed something fun. What’s more therapeutic than picking apples off trees? Plus, my side kick  had never picked an apple off a tree, and the only places I have picked apples are from a large bin in the grocery store, so this was the perfect late Sunday afternoon activity.

I mentioned a couple of the farms that are in the area in a post already, and after some contemplation, decided to go to Grieg’s Farm in Red Hook–where I had picked blueberries and raspberries in the summer. Picking your own fruit takes “supporting your local agricultural community” to a whole different level.

apple tree

We drove to the farm, which is open on weekends until 6pm (great for when you wake up at 4pm), and found just what we were expecting: apples on trees! You could also pick your own pumpkins and autumn raspberries–I still do not know the difference between summer and fall raspberries. I thought a raspberry was a raspberry. I guess I was wrong.

The farm was quite busy with other families thinking a day at the farm was a nice Sunday afternoon activity, but not overly crowded. We grabbed our bags and started picking. Unfortunately, my knowledge of apples consists of what color they are, and if they are sour or not, so when Danielle asked which type was best to pick, I was useless. We decided simply to pick a mixture.

Eating the forbidden fruit

After trying the apples out (quite tasty) and with more apples than needed, we went to the raspberry bushes and started picking autumn raspberries for a while. I think we ended up eating more than we actually brought back. Personally, nothing beats blueberries, but any berry is tasty, especially when right off the bush.

Then, we went on to the pumpkin patch. Since Danielle had picked a pumpkin before, and I picked mini ones in my back yard, we decided to skip the pumpkin picking and head back with our fresh goodies.

pumpkins pumpkins everywhere

Long story short, it was a fun afternoon, and I have a feeling my kitchen will be overflowing with apple pies and other apple creations in the near future.

When was the last crazy post written?

January 2019
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