Posted by: strongblonde | November 18, 2013

Searching for Normal

I’ve been back a little over a week and I’m still not feeling like myself.  For the first week I couldn’t eat much and spent most of my time awake in a state of perpetual nausea.  Coffee? I was finding that I was filling my glass a third full with creamer in order to get it down.  What happened to the time when I ENJOYED coffee?  Will I ever be back there again?

I’ve jumped back into workouts, although I spend the majority of my time feeling like I’m going to die.  I can really see my deconditioning in my heart rate.  Previously my max during a hard workout would be 168 or so.  I’ve seen things this week in the high 180s!  I did a 10K run on Sunday.  The weather was unseasonably warm and rainy.  After the first few miles I found that I couldn’t really keep up with my group anymore.  I fell back and began my self-loathing talk which only intensified when a CHILD passed me. Overall I did fine, in fact my time was better than my 8K time several years ago, but it was strong motivation to keep working out whenever possible.

We still have not made a decision about our embryos. It’s stressing me out. It all just seems so final. I had a long talk with some of the gals at book club about this as they have just recently gone through it, too.  It was nice to talk openly about it all and I was surprised at how natural it felt.

I’m falling back into the swing of things, albeit slowly.

Posted by: strongblonde | October 25, 2013

Emotionally Unprepared

This trip has been hard. I miss my family. I miss my routine. I miss my french vanilla creamer!!!

We’re working at a clinic in the middle of nowhere. Limited resources. Developing country. Crazy floods.

I was NOT mentally prepared for what walked into our clinic today.

We took care of 7 motorcycle accidents. SEVEN.

Oh. And a kid arrived who had drowned in the flood.

We were able to revive him after a great deal of time and effort, but he will never be the same.

I’ll never forget the image of the motorcycle pulling up with a limp body slung over the shoulder of the driver.  It was horrible. I almost don’t want to go to sleep tonight.

Totally cliche, but I’m changed. This trip has impacted me in ways I could have never anticipated.

Posted by: strongblonde | October 23, 2013

One Week In

The floods remain, and crazily they are higher in some areas and lower in some areas.  We still hold our breath every morning and afternoon when we drive into our clinical site.  Our driver seemed exponentially more relaxed yesterday when we told him that we would not be going into the village today!

Yesterday we did a home visit where I had to climb a ladder to get into the house. A house that had HOLES in the floor. And only a few walls.  There were several areas where you could just fall through to the dirt below or fall off of the floor into the “yard”.  Babyproofing must be VERY difficult in a house like that.  I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to get back down the ladder!!  But I managed it.

photo (21)

Today I purchased my weight in scarves.  I’m pretty sure that I can just open a scarf stand at the end of my driveway and make enough money to get us through the winter!! Tonight we go to my colleague’s house to have a potluck dinner and learn how to make MORE traditional food!  On our way back home we will stop by the night market.  You know, because I haven’t spent enough money already!!! Anyone need anything while I’m here??

Posted by: strongblonde | October 21, 2013

Sh*t Just Got Real

Have I mentioned I’m in the middle of nowhere?

Today we started our clinical in our rural sites.  And by rural I mean some houses don’t have doors. Or walls. Or roofs.

Oh. And the road? Yeah, it is not driveable. Flooded.

Our second route? Flooded.

Our third route looks like this:

photo (20)


Yeah…that’s where the road is SUPPOSED to be. This is apparently driveable. So we went through it.  On the way out it was HIGHER.  I’m still not convinced that I will be able to return to my home tomorrow. But I’m hopeful.

Complaining about coming to an area to deliver healthcare where they don’t have protection from elements, let alone FOOD to eat really starts to put things in perspective.

Posted by: strongblonde | October 19, 2013

Going with the Flow

I know I’ve been MIA. I’ve been barely making it.

This whole semester has been hard. B has been working long days every day of the week.

Oh. And I’ve been preparing to travel halfway around the world with students.


The whole semester I was in denial. And then, all of a sudden, I had to be packing. So I threw some random things into a suitcase and hauled my butt to the airport.

And here I am in a country where I am closer to Marcia than to my own family. A place where there is NO chance of blending in. No gym. Food I don’t recognize. I can’t communicate. I can’t just do what I want. I’m responsible for five students and one faculty member.

I’m trying to adopt the local attitude of “go with the flow”.  I left on Wednesday. It is currently Saturday night and I have slept only 8 hours since I have been gone….so going with the flow is not coming as easily as I would like, unfortunately.

Couple that with my heart aching to be with my family, the devastating flooding that is happening locally, and just the stress of being different and you can imagine my anxiety level.

But I’m trying. I’m trying.

And I’m going to try to blog a bit while here. :)

Highlights of the past 3 days: We had a woman become unresponsive and diaphoretic with a pulse of 39 5 hours into the first leg of our travels.  My students sprung into action and we took great care of her. I was proud.  We explored the city, we used public transportation, we took a local cooking class.  Today we spent 6 hours in a car traveling through flooded roads, heavy traffic, and through major accidents to arrive at our “home” for the next 2 weeks. It is NOT fancy. It is not my home. I have to live out of a suitcase.

But I’m going with the flow…..

Posted by: strongblonde | September 9, 2013


Last week we got a bill for embryo storage.

I hate this time of year.

Last year we said that we would pay for one more year in an effort to force our hand at making a decision.  We also said the same thing two years ago.

I keep having an internal dialogue about whether to fork out more money for ANOTHER year of storage or whether to let them go….

We can’t really afford another child/Are you ever in a good place to “afford” a child?

We don’t have any more room/We have a boy and a girl….another could easily share the larger room.

I really enjoyed being pregnant/That part only lasts for nine months! Then you have a newborn!

We hit the jackpot with two healthy good kids/That doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t have a healthy child.

M asked to be a “big sister” the other day/Technically she was born first, so she’s really the big sister by three minutes!

I think the right choice is to let them go….but it just seems so FINAL.


Posted by: strongblonde | August 25, 2013

End of Vaca and Race Report

My last few days of vacation were awesome:

– bald eagle sightings

– open water swims with loons

– paddleboarding with the kids

– lunches and dinner on the pontoon

– great food and drink with friends

– learning how to drink while biking! (an essential skill that would have benefited me during my century!)

We got home yesterday and promptly went grocery shopping because our fridge was EMPTY. B cooked rainbow trout, sweet potatoes, and zucchini on the grill.

Today I did another tri and had an interesting race.  I had some GI upset yesterday and today that I originally thought was nerves, but I wonder if my body was finally revolting against so much ice cream and alcohol! My stomach finally settled down a bit JUST before the race.  The open water swim was okay. It was a time trial start, but we still had to run into the water (not just wade out to the buoys like other races).  We were staged by age, so I passed some people, but at one point I realized I was in the middle of all of the buoys! I had veered WAY off course.  I figured it out before things were really bad, but I definitely lost some time doing that.  Then I had to get out of the lake and run for a LONG time before I got to the transition area. Uphill. In bare feet.  I was NOT down with that.

I was trying something new on the bike. I was biking with less resistance and trying to spin more in order to save my legs for the run.  Around mile 3 I got stung by a bee. On my chest. OUCH!  Around mile 9 I got passed by one of my training partners (who is 15 years older than me, so started behind me in the swim!). I heard “PICK IT UP, A!!!” I tried to keep up with her as long as I could (she KILLS it on the bike), but she was out of sight soon.  Then I took a wrong turn because I was following someone. I added about 3 minutes to my bike, but at least we figured it out quickly!!

Running out of T2 I realized that I forgot my bib. I was yelling asking all of the race people if I needed to go back and get it. They said I could just keep running, thank goodness!! (And in the future I will move the bib to T1 so I don’t have to worry about it in T2 anymore).   The run sucked.  I felt better this time than my last race, but this was a trail run.  There were a lot of ups and downs with uneven terrain which hadn’t been part of my training plan! Oops!

The finish was beautiful, through the woods, by the lake.  I felt stronger than the last race, despite my last week of binge eating and drinking. I ended up winning my age group and placing eighth overall. It wasn’t too competitive of a field, but I’ll take it.  I think I’m done for the season, but will be doing some other ones next year…maybe even olympic or half distance.

Now tomorrow is back to reality. We have to go back to work, all of the back to school meetings/retreats/activities are starting. Then, of course, FOOTBALL this weekend!! (Mandy! woohoo!!).

This was a great week with some MUCH needed down time. Now I can start to get excited about returning to work and the start of a new semester.

Who else is excited to go school supply shopping!?!?!?

Posted by: strongblonde | August 21, 2013

Days 3 & 4: The Good Life

  • 24 mile bikeride followed by a  3/4 mile run
  • ice cream from the Tasty Treat ( a HUGE serving!)
  • Steaks from the local butcher, awesome wine, caprese, corn from the farmer’s market
  • Eating all meals by the lake
  • Watching as B and our friend went paddleboarding under the full/Blue/Great moon
  • Got a mani and pedi from probably the worst “salon” in the north (I’m pretty sure the gal who did my nails has actually never DONE nails in her life. I’m not sure how she got roped into doing mine).  (But it was still fun to get into town and explore a bit).
  • Went with all the kids as we took the dog for a walk.

I’m settling in and feeling like I could start to enjoy this!!  BUT feel like I might need a tug during the tri on Sunday!


Posted by: strongblonde | August 19, 2013

Day 2: Things I’m Loving

  • This morning B went paddleboarding before 9am. The water was perfect, it looked like glass.
  • When he got back I explored the area on my bike.  I only did 17 miles, but most of it was rolling hills and wind sprints.  Good practice for the tri this weekend.
  • It makes me feel good to know that we’re having an active vacation. Yesterday B kayaked and paddleboarded and we both did a bootcamp workout. Today he paddleboarded, I biked and did a short run after.
  • I had another margarita today, but forgot a picture. This time is was paired with fresh guac. Then we had taco bar for dinner and s’mores for dessert.  (See why an active vacation is necessary for me??)
  • The weather has been perfect. The house is nice.
  • It’s fun to have a boat.
  • Tomorrow we are getting meat from the local butcher and fresh veg from the weekly farm market. We have our first official “adult only” dinner planned. Wahoo.
  • This vacation has already been so awesome. I feel like I could go home tomorrow and be totally satisfied and ready to tackle everything at home.
  • ….and then I remember that I still have 4.5 more days of vacation left!!!!!  I hope it continues to be this relaxing!
Posted by: strongblonde | August 18, 2013

Vacation Day 1

I finally feel like I am at a place where I can post for a minute.  (and it may have something to do with the margarita that I am drinking at 2:20pm).

In brief:

  • I’m on vacation. It’s wonderful. I’m only 3.5 hrs from my house, but I’m on a lake kind of in the middle of nowhere.  This morning B took the kids out kayaking, we ate our lunch in the middle of the lake on the pontoon boat, and our paddle board rentals for the week arrive in 2 hours. This can’t get much better for me.
  • B and I did a boot camp workout this morning.  We brought our bikes, so I’m hoping for a few rides, hopefully at least one brick, and MAYBE an open water swim.
  • Did I mention that I am officially registered for my next triathlon? Oh, and it is one week from today?
  • And have I mentioned how much I HATE swimming in lakes??  The “plant life” just makes me gag. I hate it.  It’s like it wants to grab me.
  • My job is secure for now. Still lots of drama. I’m kind of in the middle of it, but mostly because I put myself there in order to have the best chance to stay.
  • B’s parents came and stayed.  There was SOME drama, but it was disappointing at best.  His mom didn’t even make it to his art fair booth, despite being there for four hours.  When he arrived home she didn’t speak to him.  They called my kids “bad” at one point.  But….other than that, I’ve either blocked it or just expect it now so it didn’t bother me.
  • My mom is getting sicker and is stumbling around more.  Last time we saw them she was stumbling around while carrying a KNIFE.  uhm…..  I can’t start thinking about what will happen. It stresses me out.
  • I have two saved/drafted posts in my queue.  I MIGHT get them out during cocktail hours this week!! :)

More to come later! Happy Birthday to Rebecca’s kids! Congrats to Mandy on her move! Keep moving forward to Marcia! Stay on the SuperWoman train to Mandy! ( I could go on and on….but I’ll save that for tomorrow’s happy hour!).


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