Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Run Forest Run!

Or not... Well, let's be honest here. The 1/2 marathon wasn't going to happen. I chose to go to the Caribbean rather than run the Lincoln half and there haven't been any others that I was looking to sign up for. I did however, do a 10k in January and a 5 mile Memorial Day run AND I was signed up for another 10k this coming Saturday. I figured those collectively could suffice for a half marathon... right?
But, alas, my plans were squashed. I had be training for the race, hoping to beat my January 10k time. I was running 5 days a week but last week, I started having a pain in my ankle on the interior side. Nothing major, just a small irritation. I thought it was due to my running shoes that were overdue for replacement. I got a new pair last Wednesday and did a run around the lake by my house on Thursday, then decided to take Friday off. Saturday I decided to go for a run around a different lake that was less hilly than the one by my house. I set out and was making great time until.... my ankle decided to scream at me in pain. I stopped and walked for a few yards before deciding to suck it up and finish the run. More immediate screams of pain from my ankle forced me to stop. At this point my walk was more of a hobble and I started calling friends to see if someone could pick me up. No luck. No one was answering their phones. (I luckily run with my iPhone which has not only music but a handy app called RunKeeper that tracks your run via GPS and chirps your pace and distance in your ear... but I digress) Finally I get a call back from my friend Jay. Once again, using my glorious iPhone, I was able to direct him to my location using Maps and he came and picked me up.
Skip to Monday. Still in pain. Still wanting to run on Saturday, I go to the doctor for a solution. Unfortunately said doctor didn't have a clue what was wrong and sent me on my way with an ACE wrap. I guess sprains are typically on the exterior of the ankle and mine was on the interior. X-rays didn't show anything and he was visible confused...
Skip to Wednesday. Still lots of pain so I call an Orthopedist. They get me in today and the doctor looks at my ankle for about 30 seconds before saying it's fractured but he wants to take x-rays to confirm. X-rays are taken (again) and he saids their is nothing visible but the hazy area on the x-ray plus the symptoms indicate a fracture. It is then that I am placed in this gorgeous piece of footwear:

Long story short, I have to wear ole club foot here for a while and was told I can't run for 8-10 weeks. Well, there's always next year half marathon.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Well, Hello, look who's back!

I looked at my blog today and realized I hadn't made an entry since March. It's July. That's sad. Or it just means I am really busy. Life has indeed been a whirlwind this year. Travel, work, and a zillion other things seem to have consumed my time. Lucky for all of you (well, any one left who has interest in reading my abandoned blog), I have injured my ankle and am stuck on my sofa. So, where to begin. I've checked quite a few things off the list that I have neglected to blog about/mark off the list. Let's start back March with the Lobster party. More specifically, the BYO Lobster party. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and have a dinner party with friends and cook a live lobster at the same time. I call that 30 before 30 efficiency. This video pretty much says it all:

Ok, so all the video says is that I am scared of live lobsters. They look like gigantic bugs and I hate bugs...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Adventures in Mali - Part 2: The road to Koutiala

Day 2… err 3. Yeah, pretty sure it was day 3 after all of the traveling! Anyway, day 3 we got up and began preparing to leave for Koutiala. Although we had 2 large vans, we had to pack the luggage on top of one of the vans. In addition to our 12 person team and the 2 missionaries driving us, we had 2 additional people to transport to Koutiala. Bob, one of the missionaries, has obviously become an expert at loading luggage on vans with precision and skill!

While loading the vans, I took the time to photograph myself… Nice bandana huh.

This guy is paid to sit here all day and open the gate when someone comes. He is basically the garage door opener/security system.

After the packing was complete, we had breakfast provided by 2 missionaries in Bamako, Dusty and Julia. Then, we were on our way!
Here are some random pictures as we left Bamako.

All of the round-abouts had different monuments.

Nice day to take your goat for a walk.

A couple hours in to the drive, we pulled to the side of the road to grab lunch and take a potty break. We had packed sandwiches back at the mission house and had what I found out was pretty much the only kind of chip you can get in Mali, Pringles! I debated for a while about the potty break part and finally decided to give in. That's right, you heard it, I peed outside! I am going to use this to check of #10 the list. I know, I wasn't camping but I really think peeing outside while in Africa trumps peeing outside while camping! Sorry, no pic of that feat folks. :)
During our stop, a few of our team members became fascinated with this weird purple mushroom thing they found.

We were soon back on the road and headed toward Segou, a city about half way between Bamako and Koutiala.

In Segou, we made another stop at a hotel for another potty break and a soda! The soda in Mali is all Coke products however it is a bit different than what you get here in the US. It is in a glass bottle and is sweetened with real sugar. I also noticed that it seemed less carbonated. I really liked it developed a bit of addiction to it while in Mali. Towards the end of the trip, I was drinking 1 a day! Might not seem like much but that is a lot of soda for a person that maybe drinks one a month!

Soon we were back on the road and before we knew it, we were in Koutiala. When we got to Koutiala, they unloaded the luggage and we had time to settle in before all of the local missionaries came over to welcome us and have dinner. It was great to meet everyone at once!

The night ended quietly and with anticipation for the next day ahead, our first day at the hospital!

Stay tuned, more to come…

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Adventures in Mali - Part 1: In Transit

It is hard to believe that my trip to Mali has already come and gone. When I signed up to be on the team back in October, it seemed so far away. When I was there, it felt more like 2 months than 2 weeks. Now that I am back, it seems like my time there was so short! Ah!
I thought it would be fun to take you through my time in Mali with a number of posts instead of just one. One of the other team members actually wrote on a consistent basis on his blog while we were there. Smart. To be honest though, I was pretty homesick while I was there and so tired at the end of the day, my posts would have just been a bunch of random jibberish… though not that they aren't now…
Any who, we will begin at the beginning. The team departed from Epply on February 14, 2010. Yep, Valentine's day. Steve was heartbroken but I told him to suck it up and be a man. I know, I am so kind. Steve took me to the airport after a mad scramble of last minute packing and a quick breakfast and my mom met us there to send me off as well.

The monkey in the picture is one of my Valentine's day gifts. Well, actually he is a Gibbon. I would tell you the back story of the Gibbon, but Steve might kill me, so onward we go.

We flew in to Chicago and then from Chicago to Paris. When we boarded the flight to Paris it was HALF EMPTY! Score! Most of my team members were smart and grabbed rows of center seats so they could completely stretch out but I was dumb and stayed in my seat on the side of the plane so I only had two seats to lay across.
Let me just say, AirFrance is awesome. The food is pretty good, they give out fresh baguettes, and there is unlimited free beer, wine, and champagne! No, I didn't get toasted, this is a missions trip after all folks. But it was nice to know that the option was available!
I ate, watched My Sister's Keeper, got a good laugh at the "Special Steve" category for entertainment…

then tried to get some shut eye. I actually took a couple of NyQuil and slept a little, but not well. Overall the flight went by quickly though and before we knew it we were in Paris!
Being in Paris = very cool. Being in Charles De Gaulle airport for 8 hours = not so cool. Our fearless leader had decided before the trip that we should stay in the airport and not go sightseeing in the city during our layover. He was just concerned that if someone missed the flight to the Bamako, it would throw off the whole schedule which is a valid concern. A) To my knowledge, there is one flight to Bamako a day -- if that. B) Once in Bamako, we had to take a 5 hour van ride to Koutiala which would be delayed had someone missed the flight. I could see the concern. HOWEVER, about 2-3 hours into the layover, that natives got restless… Four of us decided to make a break for it and go see the Eiffel tower anyway. We consulted our fearless leader's wife (fearless leader was sleeping) and she assured us that he wouldn't be "too mad" if we left. So we did. Kind of. I would love to tell you that we made it to the Eiffel tower, but we didn't. By the time we got to the train (we went some round about way that took forever) we found that the ticket machines only took coins and credit cards. We had already stopped to get cash and no one having called their banks ahead of time, could use their card again. We had a bunch of Euros and no train tickets. At this point I was getting tired… and aggravated… and not in the mood to mess with it anymore. We couldn't seem to find a place to get change and so we gave up. Time was ticking and we didn't want to have to rush that much at the Eiffel tower plus everyone was getting a wee bit punchy. So we went back. Oddly enough, we went a different route that took us half the time. Well, at least I got a stamp on my passport that says Paris!
After we got back, we acted like nothing was amiss. Even now, I am not sure if our leader knows that we tried to make an escape!

This is a pic of our failed escape!
Boarding time came and we were expecting another light flight like the one from Chicago. So not the case. Evidently Bamako is quite the hot spot (or there aren't many flights that go there) because our flight was packed. Luckily, our team was seated together so I didn't have to sit by a complete stranger for 5 hours. The flight was pretty uneventful. (Although the guy behind me wouldn't let me recline my seat back…) More food, free wine, a little nap. It wasn't until the end where it got interesting. The guy sitting behind me decided to go to the bathroom and freshen up. He was gone a pretty long time and when he came back, he reeked of cologne. Seriously, the guy must have taken a bath in it! We were gagging and hence forth came the following pic…

After we landed in Bamako, we started the long, hot process of gathering our luggage… Bamako airport is nuts! There are so many people crammed into a small hot space. And there are only 2 super tiny luggage carousels. It took at least 2 hours to get our luggage and get out of the airport. After you get your luggage, you have to wait in a long line and run it through an x-ray machine. A 100 year old x-ray machine where the operator barely looked at the screen. Then you had to give these people your luggage claim tickets to match up to your bags. Even then, they pulled some bags to search more thoroughly… Now that I think about it, it might have taken closer to 3 hours to get everyone out of the airport and loaded in the vans. I wish I could have taken pictures, but you aren't allowed. We were told that if we took pictures, a security guard could take our camera. Not take our camera, delete the pictures, and give it back. Just take the camera.
Once loaded in the vans, we went to a CMA guesthouse in Bamako for the night. By this time, it was after midnight. The next morning we would get up to make the voyage to Koutiala!
More to come...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Back from Mali!

I have been so bad at blogging and really need to get back in to it. Life has been such a swirl of activity lately though that I feel like I never have time to sit down and write!
That being said, this isn't my official post about Mali but I thought that I should inform you that I have gone on my trip and I got back last Saturday! My mind is in such a cloud about the experience and I definitely haven't finished processing it yet. It really was an amazing experience and I hope to return someday. I will say that I am more blessed than I ever realized to live in the United States. It is almost hard to deal with the fact that we have so much at our fingertips and so many of the people there have relatively nothing. It has created quite an internal struggle for me that I am not really sure what to do with at the moment...
More to come on Mali including pics and video!

Monday, January 4, 2010

I'm never going to finish this post so posting as is! AKA Checking off #19!

Christmas this year was great! It's not like it was that incredibly different than any other year, it was just that for the first time in a long time, I was truly in the Christmas spirit. That being said, this post really should be about crossing #19 off the list but I am going to share my entire Christmas experience with you as well! Lucky you! A post just about decorating would be boring anyway.
My mom was a key player in my Christmas d├ęcor. I didn't want to do the same old thing and so we went to Michael's and got poinsettia stems and magnolia stems for the tree and the garland going up the stairs.

The wreath above my fireplace was actually a Costco purchase. (As you know, I have an addiction.)
To be honest with you, I wasn't very good about taking pictures of the decorations so this is really all I have and now most of them are put away. So on to the Christmas festivities!
I kicked off the Christmas season by throwing a party! Not just any party though. One where I could wear a fun party dress (with pockets) and some shiny red shoes! The party was a huge success and throughout the night, I had about 40-50 people. Here are some pictoral highlights of the evening!
My incredibly short mom and I in front of the tree. By the way, I really need to get a taller tree next year. Maybe I will switch to a real one since I have never had one...

My friend Carmen and I.
This is just a funny picture and it shows off my red shoes!

The weekend after the party, I went with some friends to the symphony for their Christmas performance. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't just instrumental (not that that would have been bad) but there were 4 main singers and then a bunch of dancers! It was truly entertaining and a lot of fun. I will definitely go back next year. After the symphony, we went ice skating! You can check out that experience in this post.

Then of course, there were family festivities. My mom and Glen had a Christmas party (the same night as ice skating) and Steve and I stopped by for a while.

On Christmas Eve we went to my church this year. I am so glad that they still had services because tons of churches in town canceled because of the massive snow storm that hit the midwest! My mom and Glen ended up driving to my house and then my brother came over and drove everyone in his SUV. The service was great. It was all about light and darkness and I would LOVE for you to hear it, but it isn't online!

After church, we came back to my house and started a new Christmas Eve tradition. Pigs in a blanket. They were delicious.

On Christmas day, the roads were horrible. There was so much snow and the worst part was that it was blowing and drifting everywhere. There was no way my little Civic was going to make it across town to my mom and Glen's house so my brother came and picked me up. We were ok on the main roads and interstate but my mom and Glen's neighborhood was horrible! My brother and I got stuck multiple times and I wanted to give up and go home, but he was determined. On our third new route through the neighborhood, we finally made it. It was stressful and I was pretty burnt out by the time we got there. It didn't help that we had both of our dogs with us and mine decided to act like a maniac the entire car ride which seriously stressed out and annoyed my brother.

I was pretty anxious to get home because of the weather so we only staying for a couple of hours before making the trek back across town. Basically enough time to eat, open gifts, and give the dogs a little treat!

My Christmas day ended with a quiet evening at home... and then being snowed in for the next few days.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ice + Butt = Big Bruises!

December 19, 2009 marks the day I FINALLY made it to the ConAgra Ice Skating rink. Luckily I was able to bring a good group of friends with me to witness my awesome skating skills, and let me tell you, they were amazed. Ok, that's a lie. They were astounded... at the grace I have when I fall.
We got to the skating rink around 5:30 and rented our skates. As you can see here, my lovely assistant Steve is a pro at lacing skates.

The ConAgra rink is pretty small, and a little bumpy, and there are a TON of little kids, but it was really a lot of fun. Although I almost took out a few kids, they were fun to watch, especially the little ones skating around with cones. Proof however that the cones don't always prevent falls, my friend Charles captured this picture of a little girl starting to fall backwards. Sad!... but funny!

The highlight of the evening was racing (and beating) Steve around the rink. As you can see from the video, I am so fast that even though I fell twice, I still beat him. (Make sure you have your audio turned on when you watch it.)


Pretty awesome huh. I believe the crash at the end to be the source of the gigantic bruise I sported on my butt for about 2 weeks!
In the end, bruises and all, a great time was had by all and I officially checked #18 off the list!