Monday, July 28, 2008

Life Update

Just a little status update on things....
Mom is out of the hospital and recovering. The special hospital bed she was in made her feel great, when she got home and had to sleep on a regular bed, things weren't so great. Her first night, she was in a lot of pain, but it is receding now.  She wouldn't have been able to make the trip to Yosemite with me this Wednesday. I told her not to worry about it because we wouldn't have been able to go anyways.
In case you didn't know, there is a big fire north of Mariposa. The fire is so bad, they had to cut the power into Yosemite Valley. I hear it's pretty smokey over there right now, so even if I were willing to brave it without the consession stands, the air is really bad and not worth the case of black lung.
So, instead of going to Yosemite on Wednesday, I'm going to go back to SEKI (Sequoia/Kings Canyon). It won't be as challenging as hiking up to Vernal Falls (my original plan), but at least I'll get some miles in, and be at elevation. This will give a chance to break in my new day pack. I pro-dealed myself the Osprey Stratos. 
Sorry, emailed this one in, so was unable to create a simple link. 
Speaking of SEKI, I'm still working on formatting my pictures. I don't have a lot of time to do it at home, so I do a little bit at a time. In my opinion, my pictures are kind of lame. Just cut-off pictures of big trees since they are so tall I can't fit the entire tree in my lens. Once those are complete and loaded, I can get to my Yosemite pictures. I really like my Half Dome pictures from Washburn and Glacier Points.  Stay tuned! :)
I'll have another anouncement next week-ish, but I'm not at liberty to disclose it yet. I did leak it at Facebook, but that's because no one will really see it. I just don't want to let the cat out of the bag prematurely.
Love, Yvette

Friday, July 25, 2008

Two Posts, Two Posts....

Two posts in one!

Post One: Mom

Well, mom is in the hospital again. On Monday, she fell. She landed square on her butt and hurt herself. An ambulance was called and my mom was taken to the hospital. Scans showed that she fractured her L1- one of her vertebra. Unfortunately, due to some serious overcrowding at Fresno Regional, she spent over 24 hours on a gurney in the hallway of the ER before they could get her a bed upstairs. I'm not happy about that. She presented around 7pm Monday evening (I was at work) and wasn't admitted until 11:30 pm Tuesday night.

Yesterday, mom had a procedure done to repair the fracture. They literally inject some type of cement into the bone to seal up the fracture and it worked!!! She's doing much better and has complete relief of pain. Once she is cleared by the physical therapist, she'll be free to come home. Yippie!!!

I was nervous. Still am. You see, Mom and I were going to go to Yosemite for the day this coming up week. She has never been, and it's on my 43Things list to take her. I want to before it's too late. My last two attempts were postponed because she had hurt herself. I think I've mentioned this before, she is very fragile with advanced osteoporosis and she walks with a walker. So if she falls, it's usually serious. So, once she get home and rests for a day or so, she'll be able to tell me if she will be up to going. Don't worry, I never planned to take her on a hike, I just wanted her to see the sights. So we'll see. I'm just thankful that the procedure went well or else she would have been on bed rest for months, and it would have been too late.

Part Two: Like Mother, Like Daughter.

Yesterday, I fell. I'm not as graceful as I used to be. I was walking to my car from the office and I wasn't watching where I was going. We have two doves that hang out in the car port and sit on the roofs of the cars. I was looking at one of the doves and looking around for a nest hidden somewhere, my left foot (which was already hurting) hit an uneven section of pavement- a "repaired" pothole, and I went flying. I landed on my left side, banging up my thigh, tweeking my calf just a bit, and making my foot feel even less happy.

Thankfully just minor damage. Soreness and bruise. I'm more embarassed than anything. I am a little worried about my left foot though. My arch is weak and that foot has a prounounced pronation- meaning that it rolls in big time. My foot has been hurting since I went climbing. I don't think it's broken, or that I tore something, more like just a sprain. But I do get an occasion burning sensation on my arch when I'm walking, so that's not good. Now my foot hurts just a little more. I've been icing it in the meanwhile, and I'm temped to find an ankle brace for added support: Something light that will fit in my hiking shoe. I feel I should rest up a bit, but I'm on a good roll and don't want to lose my upcoming hiking time. Only 69 more days until Half Dome!

On a sad note, a friend told me earlier that Randy Pausch passed away this morning, losing his fight with pancreatic cancer. I'm sad. Another not-so-gentle reminder that life is short and to love hard and live life to the fullest. Do what you like, like what you do (Life is Good).

Love, Yvette

Musical Interlude

Please enjoy this musical selection while I'm working on my next blog post.

Love, Yvette

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pain Is Weakness Leaving the Body


Yvette booked way too much stuff into her weekend and is now paying for it.

And to make things worse, I'm staring at an 8x10 postcard of Half Dome as I'm typing this.

Friday I worked most of the work-day in Porterville at the cancer treatment center. My partner and I returned to the office early because the medical records people weren't able to pull all the charts we requested, so we finished up earlier than normal. This was cool for me since I had to work Friday night. I guess I pretty much worked all day Friday, plus the drive to Porterville and back. It's never a fun drive, nothing to look at. I just don't like driving south ;)

Believe it or not, I had Saturday-day off. I guess if you follow me on Twitter, you would believe it. I didn't have to be at work until 5:30. It was both good and bad. I usually open every Saturday, the open until 5:30 shift, so this was a real fluke. It was bad because my zesty friend Korey (hat-tip to the Hoover Jazz Junkies) was having a party that evening and I had to miss it. It was good because it gave me time to do stuff that I normally don't have time to do during the week like get an oil change and wash. I did that in the morning, then came home and watched Billy Elliot. I had wanted to go to the climbing gym and get some vertical time in, but I was -- well, quite honestly, scared-- so I was procrastinating. I eventually made it over, in spite of the fact that the whole way over I was praying for it to be busy, so I would have to come back home. Well, sometimes prayers don't get answered, and it ends up being even better.

I got there, and it wasn't busy. Damn. So I grabbed gear and headed to the wall. I decided to ask one of the guys that worked there which wall section was the easiest wall to work on. I'm pretty glad I did. His name is Chris and he's a climber dude. He spent around 15-20 minutes with me, and it was awesome. I explained to him why I was there, the whole heights and Half Dome thing, about not being able to get back down off the wall, not being able to get all the way up. He gave me some great mental pointers and we were working this whole Last Samurai-no mind approach. It was awesome. I went from climbing back down, to letting go screaming with my eyes closed back down, to letting go with my eyes closed, to letting go. Up to yesterday, I was never able to let go. I always climbed back down, which is so much harder because you're trying not to fall. I wanted to keep going higher, but I used up all my energy and eventually my arms failed me. There is a reason that most climbers are 110lbs.

After that awesome workout, both physically and mentally, I ran home showered and changed for work. Work was good, we were super busy, and I would have been able to fly right through it except that I was exhausted, my arms were spaghetti and my feet were hurting from climbing. Either it's because I was using muscles in my feet I didn't know I had, or they were just exhausted from holding my weight up on such tiny holds.

At the co-op we sell national park passes. I sold one, and I'm supposed to hole-punch the expiration date into the cards. I had absolutely no arm strength, so I had to have the customer help me. My arms hurt like my very first taiko workshop.

After work I came home and crashed. Went straight to bed and slept like a rock, no pun intended.

Sunday morning I woke up sore. I didn't have to work, so did I rest up and try to recover? No. I went to Yosemite. I wanted to get some hiking training in. Let me tell you, going for a hike on feet that already hurt, is not the brightest thing I've ever done. Driving a stick shift with sore arms isn't too bright either, but I was going, and I went.

It was warm, humid, and off-and-on sprinkling in the valley, but I didn't care. I wanted to do a small hike to check my current level of non-fitness (the word I really want to use is gauge, but I hate the way it looks when I spell it- it always looks wrong. I really think it should be spelled gage, but it looks wrong too, but only because I know it is wrong.) I started at the trailhead and made my way to the bridge that goes over the Merced River below my favorite waterfall- Vernal Falls. It was a smooth incline, paved, no steps. I forgot how steep it was. I had to stop 4 times to catch my breath and slow down my heart rate. Not a good sign. I made it to the bridge in 50 minutes. Ideal time for Half Dome is 30 minutes, if you want to do the total hike in 10 hrs. My time goal is 12hrs, not including the time spent at the top (and I'll spend some time there because I have a list of things to do at the top.)

I rested, snacked and refilled my Camelbak. Of course I took pictures, which will be posted next week. (I'm scheduled at REI every night this week except Tuesday.) I sneezed and a U.S. Marine said bless you, and I gave him a hearty thank you with my best smile :) (Don't tell my family, because we're Army, but I've always had a thing for Marines. Must be that damn uniform.)

I was very tempted to continue on upward to Vernal Falls, which was only another mile up the hill via the Mist Trail. But I didn't trust myself to have enough energy to make it to the top plus make it back all the way down. Going down is easier than going up, but it's still not easy. So I made it back down, in 20 minutes, stopping to rest my knees at flat sections. I need to pro-deal myself some trekking poles. I have my eye on a set of Black Diamonds. Along the way down, I saw a customer that I had seen the previous night at REI. We chatted briefly as he and his friends were on their way up.

Once I was back at Happy Isles, I decided to walk around a bit before taking the shuttle back to the village. I ran into an office colleague, Lesley, and we chatted for a bit. I then made my way to The Fen, which is a marsh I'd never been to before, and took pictures. While I was taking a picture, I heard the snapping of twigs behind me. I turned to look, and I saw a coyote walking by. I'm glad it didn't care for me, because he was close enough that he could have caused me some serious damage if he wanted to.

By this time I was hungry, so I shuttled into the Village for some lunch. After I ate, I walked around for a bit, bought a postcard at the Ansel Adams gallery, found a book I want to read, and then bought a pair of earrings for my mom.

I was tired from walking, my feet were killing me by now, but I had one more stop to make- Glacier Point.

The drive up wasn't complicated. I really wanted to check the handicapped routes for my mom. When I went up in April, the road was still closed. I stopped at Washburn Point, took lots of pictures. Man, you think Half Dome is huge when looking up at it from the valley floor. Looking straight across at it, it's MASSIVE. I then continued on to Glacier Point.

Now, I could have totally left this part out, because I'm embarrassed. But it's humbling, and humility will be my strength in this endeavor.

At Washburn Point, you get a direct side view of Half Dome; you don't see any part of the face. At Glacier Point, you are a little more in front of it, so you see front and side view of the rock.

I was standing there, near the amphitheatre, looking straight across at Half Dome. And it started sinking in. The reality of my situation. This was no longer theoretical. This was no longer a someday. This was no longer in the same category with when I lose weight, when I get married, when/if I get my Master's degree (still not decided).

This is real. This is happening. This is happening in 74 days (Sunday) whether I am prepared or not.

I was scared. No, you're not listening to me. I. was. scared.

I was less scared on the wall yesterday. I was scared- the kind that makes the world spin and you think you're going to throw up, then pass out.

The tears were welling up in my eyes. I had to turn around and walk away. I almost backed out on the spot and was on the verge of having my first panic attack since 1999.

The thoughts in my head: What am I doing? What did I get myself into? What have I agreed to do?

I had to talk myself down from the mental ledge in my head. It was pretty bad, and sad too, now that the crisis has passed.

I just don’t want to fail. I know it wouldn’t be the end of the world, and it’s not like if I don’t make it, I’ll never have another chance again. I just don’t want to fail.

Love, Yvette

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My New Favorite Book

I just picked this title up at Borders. I wanted it so bad, I bought it in hardcover. I never buy hardcover. It's a new release.

I can't wait to read it. :)

Love, Yvette

Fatty Shops at REI!!!!

The Fat Cyclist shops at REI.

Every now and again, when it comes up in my t-shirt rotation (yes, I rotate my clothes), you may find me at REI wearing a pink t-shirt under my REI vest. The front of that shirt says You will find a link to that blog on my sidebar if you're not doing the reader thing. It's an amazing blog that will have you rolling on the floor in hysterics (if you're into cycling, that is), and leave you (ok, maybe just me) in tears as the author shares his experiences as his wife fights recurrent breast cancer. (No HIPAA violations there (hopefully): public knowledge, and not California data). Also, if you haven't made the connection, I'm wearing the 2007 Fat Cyclist jersey in my profile picture. You can see the whole jersey at my flickr page. And yes, I've pre-ordered the 2008 jersey too!

Being a big fan, and a clydesdale myself, I was giddy to read Fatty (a.k.a. Elden Nelson) stopped by his area REI to pick up some Clif Bars. WOO-HOO! Okay, the post was more about what he bought than where he bought it, but still, made my day. I hope his cashier was as delightful as I am (you would know, if you ever heard my closing announcment).

So even if you aren't into cycling, read his post on sports nutrition. I know you'll like his thinking, and maybe you'll even giggle a bit.

The Next Big Thing in Sports Nutrition

Love, Yvette

Monday, July 7, 2008

Vacation Over

Back to the grindstone.

First I enter my alarm code to the building backwards and set off the alarm. Then I forget my database password and lock myself out. What's the opposite of "Eureka"?

Now, I'm off to lands far away. Okay, not that far away. But still, living out of a suitcase for the next 3 days. When I was in college I used to think that it would be cool to be a consultant traveling from place to place. Now I'm not so sure.

But it could be worse. I could be in a car without air conditioning. It's supposed to be 108-110 tomorrow.

That would suck.

Okay, off to pack.

Love, Yvette

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Gauntlet is Down!

A funny thing happened on the way to the gas station yesterday....

I stopped by REI to pick up a new TSA-approved lock for my luggage that is going to Michigan without me (I was one lock short). Of course as I flow through the store I say hi to all my wonderful co-workers. I say hello to Alyson, totally awesome Outreach Specialist (she goes to schools and such) and we begin to chat. Of course I'm horrible at recounting conversations verbatim, so I am totally paraphrasing.

Me: "Hi Alyson"

Alyson: "Hi Yvette"

Me: "How's it going?"

Alyson: "Good. Hey, we're doing Half Dome the first weekend in October. Kim got a campsite, it will be Kim & Terry, me & Tyler, Heather (blah blah blah didn't hear the rest)... you in?"

Me: *jumping and screaming like a little girl* "I'M IN!!!!!!!!"


So now the gauntlet has been thrown down. The challenge is on. This is part of my 43 things, and to cross it off my list, there is another item I have to cross off first.

Now most of you are thinking, Half Dome, so what? I've already done it x times. I'd bet money that 98% of you could turn around and hike this thing tomorrow. I, right now, cannot. I am out of shape, overweight, and deathly afraid of heights (I can't even stand on a chair to change a lightbulb). so this is a VERY big deal for me. I have wanted to hike Half Dome since I nearly died (of out-of-shape-ness) on my first hike to the footbridge below Vernal Falls in the mid 90's. It's been over 10 years.

So what is that other item I have to cross off my list? #5 I have to climb to the top of the climbing wall at my gym. Haven't got there yet. (Want to see my complete updated list? See link in sidebar --->). I get about half way up, and then freak and come back down. I'm doing this because of the cables. I'm afraid to hike all that way, get to the base of the cables, and then chicken out and not be able to go all the way.

When I do this, I am going all the way. It's put up or shut time. So the challenge is on: I am losing 15lbs to help my knees out, for hiking. I'm riding my bike more, for cardio. And I'm getting my ass to the top of the wall, for confidence.

I am ready, the sky is not the limit.

Love, Yvette

P.S. Here is a link to the awesome youtube video of Carlos Whittaker and friends doin' the 'Dome. LINK

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Quickie Hi

A very busy weekend so far. This is just a quick recap until I can get back to blogging.

Saturday: Baby Shower (don't ask) in AM, then pool party at Carlos' in the PM. No details. What happens at Carlos', stays at Carlos'.

Sunday: Worked all day, then had coffee with my good friend Sara V. after a spending spree in the used CD section of Rasputin's. I love that place. I really need to visit an Amoeba, I'm told I would really like it.

Monday: Took off to King Canyon/Sequoia National Parks. I haven't been there in such an embarassing amount of time. Took lots of pictures. Will work on them this week since I'm on vacation from the day job. Still working REI, so no more out of town trips for me this week.

Today: Just chilling this morning because taking off this afternoon to drive my mom and sis to SFO. They are going to Michigan without me this year :( I couldn't commit to go. First I wasn't sure about my job, then when all was cool, I had the car fiasco to deal with. Once I thought I could, tickets jumped from 325 to 800 bucks. I just can't do that high of an amount.

So that's my weekend recap, hope y'all had a good weekend too! :)

Love, Yvette